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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 64111
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hi - my wife has an incident today with a policewamn in a civilian

Customer Question

Hi - my wife has an incident today with a policewamn in a civilian car as follows:

1) She was stopped by a civilian police car (just a normal car with no indication that it's a police car - only the strange sound they give out and a flashing light that popped out ) and a single lady inside in black clothing - she says its a uniform but she didn't recognise the police uniform as nothing on her uniform indicated she was a police officer.
2) She was a bit confused at the start and thought it was an ambulance so gave way , but when they stopped behind her she got out to see what the matter was.
3) The lady (she says she's a police officer) shouted at her and ordered her to her own back seat which my wife did and to her shock she found that the back door was locked.
4) The lady started by saying that my wife wasn't wearing her seatbelt - and when my wife protested that she was and pointed out that she was behind her and couldn't possibly tell - the lady responded by saying that she saw her a couple of round about earlier and she was certain she wasn't wearing one as my wife has a white coat and she would have noticed the seat belt as it's black.
5) she then went on asking my wife to sign a piece of paper (my wife's english isn't very good, she understands but under pressure she seems to grow hesitant with the meanings ) so my wife refused saying that she would need me to be present (to translate properly what the paper said)
6) the lady from what my wife told me became very upset - and warned her that she would go to court and it would cost her a lot of money - I'll be honest my wife was very distressed as she called me straight after - the lady didn't give her any paperwork except a leaflet that said "police driver diversion schemes" with details about the offer of attending a educational course rather than a fixed penalty - where she should return the form within 14 days to take up the offer (I'll assume that's what she wanted my wife to sign but I cannot guarantee it )and that the police would write back of how to book within 28 days.
7) she asked for my wife's driving licence and took all the details from it down.

Now those are the facts above, I'm quite annoyed because I have driven with my wife and if there's one thing she's very religious about is putting on the seatbelt - in that matter I really do believe she had her seatbelt on, all in all I don't mind paying £60 fine if she was at fault - but I think the way my wife was treated and scared is inexcusable - what right had the policewoman in detaining my wife in the back seat- and shouldn't the policewoman be with a colleague, it's her word against my wife's and I am certain if there was any video evidence it would show the faults made...in addition I don't believe she stopped her for the seat belt as there is no way from behind can they guarantee that she wasn't wearing a seatbelt my wife is quite thin and when wearing the seat belt even I don't notice it unless I'm upclose.

I don't know how to complain or what to do as we have no document as to who the officer was, or anything about the incident except that leaflet which I can pickup from any police station - even if my wife hadn't signed she should have given a copy to my wife surely? can you advise?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Did your wife happen to take her number?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No, that was the first thing I asked her but unfortunately she was too shaken for that

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks.

Can we just try to summarise what she is hoping to complain about?

In short, the officer stopped her for not wearing a seat belt and she says that she did?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

yes - plus the fact that the police officer detained her in the police car for no reason and without giving her any documentation.


 


I gave the above so the facts are all there

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
I'm really sorry but I cannot give you any good news.

The failing to take a number isn't really the end of the world. If she was given a fixed penalty fine then the officer's identity would be traceable.

The problem really is that there just plain aren't really grounds for a complaint. In a nutshell this comes down to a complaint that the officer was antagonistic. For what its worth, I know they are rude sometimes. It would obviously be better if they were not rude but its not a specific requirement of the job.

A police officer is free to detain in the circumstances you describe and there's no requirement for a second officer.

Certainly it doesn't do anything about the fact of the FPN.

On the point of the FPN, if she disputes that she wasn't wearing a seat belt then she can refuse to pay the fine and take the risk of being summonsed to court. They do sometimes fail to summons and if that happens then its wonderful. The risk is that they would remember and then she would be at risk of court costs.

I'm very sorry but I have to give you truthful information.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
When I refer to the FPN that would include all forms of divergence schemes.

She may be acquitted at court but the risk is that she will be convicted.

Unfortunately, at the Magistrates Court if its a police officers word against a defendant, the police officer usually wins.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

but isn't this similar to speed tickets - if I get a speed ticket I can ask for proof of me speeding, this is the same thing, shouldn't there be some form of proof? otherwise any police officer can claim just about anything against me and win with no proof

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
It is similar to speeding FPNs but its not a good idea to go to court. They will believe the police officer.

I did thousands of trials at the Magistrates Court and I think I've seen about 5 where they have believed the defendant over the police officer.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
In any event, there is evidence. The officer says she saw her without a seat belt.

If they remember to summons her, there is a 95% chance they would convict on that evidence.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

But for speed tickets it doesn't go to court - I normally ask for proof online - is there no course similar to that?


 


what's the next course of action? she wasn't given any documentation to accept anything - I certainly agree that she shouldn't sign anything without fully understanding what's in the document.


 


if we wait 14 days may pass and then she'll be liable for a fine or should we call the police station?


 


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Speeding offences do go to court if people refuse the FPN - if they remember to summons

She was probably pulled over and given a verbal NIP. Nothing may happen. They do fail to act sometimes. If they do send an FPN through the post then she can refuse to pay it if she wants to and run the risk of being summonsed.

She was probably been asked to sign the officers notes and they will have recorded that she refused.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you - so to summarise, all we will expect is a FPN ( I think it's £60) and that's the end of it if we pay or if we refuse a court summons?


 


How long do we have to wait after which the matter is considered dropped?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, they can't add points for seat belt offences.

Thy have six months to summons.

If they are going to offer the FPN then it should be within 28 days.

Its a really bad idea to complain. There are no grounds here and all it will do is remind them of the need to review your case which you generally want to avoid with road traffic.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

a final question what's the difference between 6 months to summon and 28 days to offer an FPN ? Sorry but I didn't get that bit..

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
They will offer the FPN within 28 days normally although that isn't a requirement

If you don't pay then have six months to summons to court
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 64111
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Jo C. and other UK Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you - is it possible to summon without offering the FPN?


 


meaningif we don't receive the FPN does that mean the end of it?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

final question here - so all we have to do is wait for 14 days?


 


and if we do not receive the FPN within that time - we can consider the matter for all intents and purposes closed?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK - to cut my losses if I want to pay the £60 and get it over with - should I wait for the 14 days or contact the police station or will they send me some paperwork?


 


Another piece of information my wife gave me which doesn't sound right so am not sure whether it is legal for the policeoffice to do so or not - she said to me that the Police Office while in her car asked my wife to get out and get into the back seat of the civilian police car - my wife didn't get out of the car of her own accord...is that legal?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK - to cut my losses if I want to pay the £60 and get it over with - should I wait for the 14 days or contact the police station or will they send me some paperwork?


 


Another piece of information my wife gave me which doesn't sound right so am not sure whether it is legal for the police officer to do so or not - she said to me that the Police Office while in her car asked my wife to get out and get into the back seat of the civilian police car - my wife didn't get out of the car of her own accord...is that legal?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you - I rated the reply - is that all I need to do ?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, thanks for the rating.

All the best.

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