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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 01:42 
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Banned chief constable says he’s sorry for doing 90mph in 60mph zone

Russell Jenkins

One of Britain’s most senior policemen was urged to resign yesterday after he was banned from driving for six weeks and fined £300 for speeding.

Meredydd Hughes, 49, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, was chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers road safety committee when he was caught driving at 90mph in a 60mph zone. He has since stepped down from that post.

His sentence has been criticised as lenient by the antispeed charity Brake, which suggested that Hughes’s actions had undermined the work of his traffic colleagues to such an extent that he should consider his position.

Hughes, who has argued for less conspicuous speed cameras to catch speeding motorists, did not attend court in person but admitted the charge through his solicitor.

The court was told that he was driving to Shropshire on the A5 at Wrexham, North Wales, on a short climbing trip when he was caught travelling at 90mph in his Y-registration Audi.

The chief constable for the force is Richard Brunstrom, a notoriously zealous advocate for greater speed-camera enforcement.

Huw Edwards, Hughes’s solicitor, told Wrexham Magistrates’ Court: “He does not seek to make any excuse about this matter. He totally accepts that the police have a duty to do.

“He is no exception and he accepts that he must be punished for the offence. He asks me to apologise for the offence. He recognises that it is a serious matter.”

The court was told that Hughes had held a driving licence for 30 years and had received two fixed-penalty notices during that time, which had both expired.

After the brief hearing, Hughes issued a statement in which he apologised to colleagues on the North Wales force and the public.

He said he recognised that the offence was a significant breach of the law but suggested mitigating factors for travelling at such a high speed. He said that it was early in the morning, when traffic was minimal, and the weather and road surface conditions had been good.

But he added: “There is never an excuse for bad driving and I should have paid more attention to my speed. I remain convinced that safety cameras and speed enforcement are vital to reduce casualty levels and I will continue to support this activity.”

He added: “Drivers who know they are guilty should plead guilty rather than exploit process issues or other spurious attacks on technologies and I am quite proud to know I have lived up to that belief.”

Jools Townsend, head of education at Brake, criticised the chief constable’s actions and the sentence.

She said: “It is shocking that someone with Hughes’s experience of working to prevent road deaths and police our roads should drive in a way that endangers lives.

“Speeding is a reckless and selfish act, and the lenient sentence reflects a justice system which lacks the teeth to punish speeders appropriately.

“By committing this deadly crime, Hughes undermines the work of traffic police to protect the safety of road users, both within his force and across the country. He should seriously consider his position as a result.”

The court case has also been seized upon by opponents of Mr Brunstrom.

Paul Smith, founder of, said: “Speed enforcement has become a ridiculous obsession to the severe detriment of far more important aspects of road safety. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. Mr Hughes should clearly have been preaching what he practises because clearly he knows that exceeding the speed limit is not necessarily dangerous.”

Paul Smith
Our scrap speed cameras petition got over 28,000 sigs
The Safe Speed campaign demands a return to intelligent road safety

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 09:51 
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Times wrote:
antispeed charity Brake

Interesting that they did not say road safety charity, perhaps Brake is losing credibility.

Driving fast is for a particular time and place, I can do it I just only do it occasionally because I am a gentleman.
- James May

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:14 
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By Brunstrom's reckoning that makes Hughes as bad as a rapist or burglar.

Tut tut Mr Hughes, but don't worry - I'm sure Brunstrom will get caught in his own snare one day and hang on to his job just the same.

Hypocrites! They're nothing but unaccountable Teflon-coated hypocrites and everyone knows it! :furious:

The views expressed in this post are personal opinions and do not necessarily represent the views of Safe Speed.
You will be branded a threat to society by going over a speed limit where it is safe to do so, and suffer the consequences of your actions in a way criminals do not, more so than someone who is a real threat to our society.

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