On some dealings with the police

About three weeks ago I posted this on the CityCyclingEdinburgh forum’s “Today’s rubbish driving” thread:

So I’m cycling along in the dark with my lights on. There are some cars parked in the inside lane, and I wish to move further out than I already am. There’s a car coming up behind me, and it sounds & looks as though it is coming quite fast. So I signal right but don’t move out much, if at all. The car overtakes me while I am signalling right and we all go on our merry way. It is just as well no one in the car I was passing opened a door, though.

I think I should have got further out earlier. I don’t quite know what I think about the driver of the overtaking car.

Does it make a difference that it was a police car? I noted the plate as SN11 DYP which can’t be quite right.

I was mostly just having a moan (that is the thread for having a moan, after all) but a couple of people suggested that I should report it, given that the Highway Code specifically says “DO NOT overtake … when a road user is indicating right…” To be honest, if it had been a private car or a taxi, I wouldn’t have thought much of it (though I might still have posted on the thread); it was the fact that it was a police car (I was right about the registration) that annoyed me. I think we are right to expect higher standards from the police, in driving as well as in other areas of conduct.

So, I went to the online form for making complaints, and filled it in (you don’t get that many words to make your complaint in, so it took a few minutes of editing to get my text right. They do say that you’ll get the opportunity to expand further, though.) I didn’t put in a phone number, expecting that any further correspondence would be by email, but the next thing that happened was I got an email asking for a phone number. I did get cold feet at that point, commenting to the CCE thread that I was concerned that
I’m just going to end up being criticised for riding in a dark jacket and woolly hat (as opposed to magic yellow coat and plastic hat…)“.
However I decided to provide a phone number and after a few attempts the policeman got through to me. I was actually very impressed at the level of effort that went in to getting hold of me and talking to me about my complaint, given that I was pretty slow to reply to emails; I half expected that they’d give up.

The policeman asked me what I wanted the outcome of my complaint to be, and I said that I wanted someone to have a word with the driver about his driving. At no point were my choices of clothing or head-wear discussed. So the policeman agreed that he would do that, and let me know (by email) when he had done it, and this is what happened. I slightly regret not asking for more details of the conversation, in particular, did the driver accept that he should not have done what he did; but I decided not to go any further.

So I’d say that if you do experience poor driving from the police, it is worth making a complaint about it – just be prepared to have to do more than just fill in an online form!

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