United Kingdom

Police chief warns speeding drivers should not be treated more leniently than knife-wielding thugs

Speeding drivers are being treated more leniently than those caught carrying a knife, a top police officer has said. 

Andy Cox, the national leader for fatal collision investigations, said those who drive at an extreme speed pose a greater threat to public safety. 

The Detective Chief Superintendent said public attitudes and sentencing to road crime needs to change, according to The Sunday Times. 

One of the highest speeds recorded by police was last year, where Metropolitan Police recorded a Porsche whizzing at 163mph on the M1 in Edgware, London. 

The middle-aged man received a six-month driving ban, a fine and costs of £1,886 as a punishment. 

Andy Cox, the national leader for fatal collision investigations, said those who drive at an extreme speed pose a greater threat to public safety than those caught carrying a knife

Mr Cox said: 'Sentencing can't be based on perception. It needs to be based on risk and likely harm.' 

He added that by driving at extreme speeds, they are using their vehicle 'as a weapon', asking how that was different than using violence in a fight.  

He was also critical of the 'exceptional hardship' defence, which is when being disqualified from driving because you have 12 or more points on your licence would cause suffering beyond what is considered reasonable. 

Mr Cox said: 'People need to be mobile, but they know that before they get behind the wheel, and they had a chance to reflect and change their behaviour, but continued to drive in that risky, selfish manner.' 

He added that people caught speeding felt justified in criticising police for catching them and thinking of themselves as 'unlucky', but don't look at themselves to think that they put people at risk and knew they shouldn't be speeding. 

The officer questioned where the voice of those bereaved or permanently disabled after collisions are in the exceptional hardship defence.  

Mr Cox is now running 125 miles to help raise funds for RoadPeace, who provide support to bereaved families who lose loved ones in collisions. 

The Detective Chief Superintendent said public attitudes and sentencing to road crime needs to change after one of the highest speeds recorded by police last year was when Metropolitan Police recorded a Porsche whizzing at 163mph on the M1 in Edgware, London (stock pic)

He will run the distance, which starts at the location of the first ever fatal road collision in the UK, in nine days, between May 15 and 23, which included Global Road Safety Week. Mr Cox has currently raised more than £23,500 for the cause. 

Despite lockdown and low travel levels, 1,580 people died on the roads in Britain last year, which Mr Cox said was more than twice the number of people who were murdered or died at the hands of terrorists.  

At least eight reckless drivers were clocked zooming at speeds of over 130mph during the first three weeks of the Covid-19 lockdown last year, police figures revealed.

The highest speed was 163mph in London, while the next fasted, revealed in an RAC investigation, was clocked at 151mph on the M62 motorway in West Yorkshire. 

Six more instances were recorded other forces detected motorists driving at more than 130mph - in Suffolk, Northamptonshire, Gwent, Staffordshire, Kent and London again. 

Speaking last year, Mr Cox said: 'Since lockdown speeding enforcement by roads policing officers in London is up 119 per cent and extreme speeding enforcement is up 181 per cent when comparing the same period in 2019. 

'This includes 345 offences of 100mph or more with the highest being 163mph.'  

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