Waking the Beast

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As an Actions Against Detaining Authorities Solicitor I have found that the number of complaints against Governmental bodies, but where there is a large element of culpability on the complainer, have increased exponentially in recent years.  By way of an example, I agree that a Police Officer should not use force which causes your finger to break, particularly where you are not in the process of being arrested, but where you have purposely crossed the road to shout abuse at that Officer are you not the author of your own misfortune?  I agree that deliberate acts of violence cannot be tolerated by anyone, least of all Police Officers, but if you poke the beast do you not expect to get bitten?  

This question occurred to me after watching two different things recently.  The first was the clip on You Tube relating to the arrest by Gwent Police of an elderly gentleman who obtained substantial damages after the Police chased him down a country lane and smashed his Range Rover’s windows with batons/feet.  Whilst undoubtedly frightening, and arguably well over the top, I couldn’t help putting myself in the mind of the Officers involved in the incident.  If the report I read was true, the elderly gent had apparently driven away whilst being issued with a Penalty Notice (albeit after it was actually given to him) and failed to stop for several miles whilst the Police chased him, blue lights flashing and sirens blaring.  It was only when he noticed a Police “stinger” ahead of him that he pulled over and the chaos ensued.  I completely agree that it would have been easier to ask him to get out of the car or to pull him out rather than breaking the windows, but did the Officers genuinely believe that he was trying to evade capture? I do not know the answer to be honest, but it was interesting to read the comments posted by members of the public underneath the video who were largely incensed by what happened.  It also reminded me of another You Tube clip where the same thing happened in the US.  The Officer involved did not hop in his car to give chase to the absconder; he simply unloaded the entire magazine of his pistol in to the back of the car on a busy highway.  This is probably a lesson both as to why the Police should not routinely carry guns, and why we are lucky the Police do not enjoy the freedom of their Atlantic cousins.

 It also reminded me of the same question when watching last night’s final episode of “Coppers”, which dealt with the duties faced by the Police in rural Scotland.  A lady was caught by Police in a speed trap after speeding through the village in which she lived.  The irony?  That lady had caused the speed trap to be there in the first place after campaigning to the Police about their lack of action on dealing with motorists who deliberately flouted the 20mph speed limit!

David Mayor

About David Mayor

David is Head of the Preston Office's Civil Litigation team and deals with all types of private Civil Court disputes. David’s blogs cover his expertise in all aspects of personal injury law from low value Road Traffic Accidents right through to complex large loss claims. David also writes and has a vast array of experience in Public Liability (trips and slips), Employer's Liability (accidents at work), and Motor Claims (motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents).
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