Author Topic: [LCC City] Minutes of City Police Road Safety Forum- police shock confession.  (Read 1541 times)

The cops admit selective policing, sorry for lenth:

"Ralph Smyth asked DP how many FPNs had been issued to motorists.

DP replied that no FPNs had been issued to motorists as part of Op Alto."

Below are the minutes of the City Police Road Safety Forum which took
place in February of this year. Sorry for the delay in forwarding and
adding some comments, first below then in square brackes in the minutes
further down..

The point which seems to have rekindled the red light "debate" on this
egroup has been wrongly reported: City Police did not issue FPNs
(penalties) to drivers during their operation because they were
concentrating on cyclists and NOT because no drivers were observed
breaking the law.

The claim in the police powerpoint that cyclists jumping lights was one
of the main causes of cyclists being injured is incorrect - see the
stat's on the City Cyclists website. Further the police seem to be
ignoring most of the offences which take place by focusing only on some
of the specific offences created in legislation (e.g. obeying traffic
signals but they tend to ignore zebra crossings) and ignoring the
general offences of driving (or cycling) dangerously/without due care/

The cyclists who call for more targetting of drivers breaching ASLs as a
response to the proposed campaign against cyclists - in some sort of
tit-for-tat enforcement war - are really missing the point. These
short campaigns are not going to change hearts and minds of drivers and
cyclists and will just produce "regression to mean" within a month or
so, i.e. the number of contraventions will gradually return to previous

I have some more comments and background which I'll forward later.



City of London Road Safety Forum – 6th February 2008


Panel Members

Superintendent Lorraine Cussen – COLP (LC)
Inspector Dave Aspinall – COLP (DA)
Sergeant Dave Prashner – COLP (DP)
Police Constable Antony Wolfson – COLP (AW)
Alan Rickwood – COLP (AR)
Matthew Collins – COLC, Road Safety Team (MC)
Simon Phillips – COLC, Policy Officer, Dept of Planning and Transport

Ralph Smyth – City Cyclists
Welcomed the fact that the COLP had chosen to widen the issue to all
traffic and had chosen not to simply target cyclists. [although it
seems that later questions revealed that the operation did only lead to
enforcement action against cyclists and effectively a blind eye to
other road users]
Asked why the COLP had chosen to oppose the introduction of a 20mph
speed limit on Bishopsgate.

Further to this, he raised the issue [importance] of dealing with
dangerous driving and [careless] or inconsiderate driving [: because a
Fixed Penalty Notice can be issued against some offences, these are the
ones which the police focus on and they rarely enforce
dangerous/careless/inconsiderate driving as it involves the time and
effort of going to court]. As a barrister, he recognises the
difficulties associated with proving such a case [dangerous driving not
careless driving as that goes to the magistrates court where over 95%
of people are convicted] and the vast amounts
of paperwork produced [it was more about officer time used up] in such

 He asked, “how can we tackle these issues, without generating
such huge amounts of paperwork”? [not really, bit of an
oversimplification. Also raised the point that the speed limit is a
target and there have been successful prosecutions of
drivers going within the limit but still held to be inconsiderate.]

AR stated, for the record that the COLP did not actively oppose the
introduction of a 20mph speed limit on Bishopsgate [but rather did not
support it, so effectively killing it off]. Instead, it was a question
of whether it would be enforceable given the current infrastructure.

Unknown Cyclist
Said that there were a minority of cyclists that gave the rest a bad
name and that a crack down on them was needed.
He asked whether we could have a summary of the recent Road Safety
Campaign (Op Alto), run in January 2008.

DP gave a brief summary of the operation, including the fact that 231
fixed penalty notices (FPNs) had been issued to cyclists. He also
explained that a post operation survey of the junction of Cheapside and
Queen Street had shown a significant reduction in the number of
offences, when compared to prior to the operation.

Ralph Smyth asked DP how many FPNs had been issued to motorists.

DP replied that no FPNs had been issued to motorists as part of Op Alto.


  • The Monkey and the Plywood Violin (RIP)
Is that the Ralph Smyth against whose candidacy for a political office I once nominated a pot-plant1, I wonder? The pot-plant won comprehensively, of course, and he spent the year as its co-opted deputy. Let nobody say that the cut and thrust of student politics does not prepare one for the real world. Especially now we have Mayor Boris.

1. A swiss-cheese plant in a pot, not a pot plant. It happened to be present at the meeting; in no way should this be read as a criticism of the herbal recreations of Ralph or anyone else.

I dunno anything about pot plants.

This was supposed to be a City-wide clampdown on bad behaviour on the roads.

 It turns out, among a few other lies from the cops about cycling accidents, it was nothing of the kind. Anyone who cycles in The City will have seen cyclists pulled over whilst cars, lorries, vans and cabs blatantly RLJ feet away.


  • Tyke
I've seen RLJs happen right in front of Police Officers - both on foot and in vehicles, though this hasn't always been the City force.
Getting there...


  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Was the operation a traffic operation or one looking at bicycles

Whoopedy doo

"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

LCC response:


I've kept out of the discussion but it is interesting to see that the
conclusion seems to be that cycling contraventions can be anti-social
but rarely dangerous. Some feel that such behaviour has a significant
impact in how cyclists are treated generally. It is interesting that
while the pedestrian casualty rate is rocketing - collisions between
pedestrians and motor vehicles - the pedestrians are complaining about
cyclists not drivers.

It seems clear that the police continuing to label this as a "safety"
issue is frankly stupid and not going to get us anywhere: it will do
little to make the City's roads safer nor change cyclists' behaviour
just keep a few City bigwigs happy that "something is being done" about
those damned cyclists. Perhaps the police questionnaire which
puts "dangerous cyclists" as the first thing you can complain about -
see link below - may be partly responsible, but there are other deeper
sociological issues at play.
City of London Police

Because the enforcement is only targetted at a narrow range of
offences - basically ignoring both specific contraventions such as zebra
crossings (surely it is as bad for a pedestrian knocked over on a zebra
as one knocked over at traffic signals?) and general offences such as
inconsiderate driving / cycling - most behaviour is not improved,
particularly the behaviour that causes the most collisions.

Because there is zero tolerance against certain contraventions during
City Police operations - rather than officers exercising discretion -
this just increases tension and lack of respect amongst cyclists. The
same goes for car parking contraventions indeed most London local
authorities are learning from this as a lack of legitimacy erodes
compliance (see links on the City Cyclists webpage on some research on

With the enforcement being targetted against cyclists again - despite
the hopes I expressed at the forum - this is only going to reinforce
both negative relative perceptions of cyclists and the idea that most
of the time cyclists are to blame for collisions. Both unfair and
likely to lead to drivers sharing the road less with cyclists (I
certainly found that when the issue was in the news earlier this year)
then cyclists feeling their needs and safety are ignored so they might
as well take the law into their own hands.

Let's see the City Police telling drivers to be considerate: at present
the only advice for drivers seems to be about avoiding theft from their
cars. A good example is:
Ten Steps to Considerate Driving For Cyclist Safety
[the only thing it misses out is the need to check mirrors more than
once when doing manoeuvres to cut out the risk cyclists etc. being in
blind spots]

If the City Police started hauling up drivers breaching the above for
inconsiderate driving then that would be the start of improving better
behaviour. And if the City Police tried a blitz where they exercised
discretion, e.g. focusing on FPNing cyclists that ride through red
lights when pedestrians are using the crossing (a particular gripe of
mine), but also speaking to cyclists who don't give predence at zebras,
race through shared spaces etc. we'd be more likely to see a sea

I'd be interested to see people's views about how the City Police
campaign could be better tailored to dealing with inconsiderate cycling
so that it changed behaviour rather than just the usual "zero
tolerance" approach.