At the end of June, I wrote here (with a video of the incident) about the poor police response to what I considered to be a very serious road rage incident. In that post, I pasted the police complaint that I submitted as a result.
Over the following month, I was in communication with the Inspector who was investigating my complaint and I now have the outcome regarding the original incident.
I should say that I have been very happy with the way my police complaint itself has been handled. The key points that I take away from this are below.
The failure to issue a Notice of Intention to Prosecute (NIP) was due to a breakdown in inter-department communications. I have been assured that steps are being taken to improve procedures in relation to this.
The Inspector agrees that, had a NIP been served in due time, the case should have gone to court. We disagree on what the appropriate charge should be: he says careless driving, but I think it should be dangerous driving or even assault (see my earlier article). In discussion, it became clear that I was not going to get anywhere regarding an assault charge, but see my comments below.
I was informed yesterday that the driver has been spoken to and issued with a formal warning under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002. Unfortunately I got the distinct impression that the driver still denies that he did anything wrong.
Regarding the question that I posed in the title of my earlier article (“Do the police have an ingrained prejudice against cyclists?”), I’m no longer sure. Perhaps my original report might have been taken more seriously had I not been a cyclist, but perhaps not. However, what is very clear to me is that I do believe it probably would have been taken more seriously if the offender had used a knife or a broken bottle to threaten me rather than a 1.5 tonne, 150bhp machine.
Overall, I am satisfied with the final outcome. Section 59 of the Police Reform Act states:
“Where a constable in uniform has reasonable grounds for believing that a motor vehicle is being used on any occasion in a manner which—
(a) contravenes section 3 or 34 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (c. 52) (careless and inconsiderate driving and prohibition of off-road driving), and
(b) is causing, or is likely to cause, alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public,
he shall have the powers set out in subsection (3).”
This fits reasonably well with the actions of the driver in this case. The powers referred to involve the confiscation of the offender’s vehicle if a second offence is committed (within 12 months) after a warning has been served.