Two police officers have been banned from driving and fined for speeding while on duty.
PC David Muddle, 31, and PC Robert Watts, 34, appeared at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court today after being summonsed for driving two marked police cars at excess speed on the A27 between the Devil’s Dyke and Falmer on Sunday 5 September.
The two officers pleaded guilty to driving at speed in two marked Ford Focus cars. They were both disqualified for 28 days and each ordered to pay a total of £558 – a £500 fine, £43 costs and £15 victim surcharge.
They were spotted in convoy by two unmarked police motorcyclists travelling at up to 102mph at around 8am in light Sunday morning traffic on the 70mph limit dual carriageway.
No blue lights or sirens were being used.
They were attending an address to arrest a suspect for aggravated burglary, but this was not an emergency response and it was unnecessary for the officers to drive at speed.
Both cars were seen by the unmarked police motorcyclists, who were working on Operation Ride, an initiative focusing on antisocial drivers and motorcyclists. The motorcyclists captured the event on video equipment, then stopped the cars and established they were not on an emergency response, so reported the drivers for consideration of prosecution.
Chief Inspector Di Roskilly of the Road Policing Unit said: “Police are trained and trusted to travel at high speeds in response to emergencies, but on this occasion that trust was breached by the officers travelling at speed with no justification.
“They immediately recognised they had let themselves and Sussex Police down and have demonstrated this with their guilty pleas. Nevertheless, we take a robust and consistent approach towards people who ignore speed limits and this includes our own staff.
“Sussex Police is committed to reducing the number of serious injury and fatal collisions on the roads of Sussex and we know that speed is a contributing factor in many of these.
“Therefore, we will continue to deploy unmarked vehicles fitted with recording equipment to detect motorists who are prepared to put other’s lives at risk through speeding.”
PC Muddle is a response officer based at Crowhurst Road, Brighton, and PC Watts is a response officer from Hove.
Following internal disciplinary proceedings they have received formal written warnings about their actions.
The officers were not suspended from duty, as this would be an expensive and unnecessary step in this case.
Their response driving licences were revoked immediately and following the outcome of this hearing they will be required to re-take Sussex Police’s internal assessment after their 28 day disqualification before being allowed to drive response vehicles again.
The cars were double-crewed and both passengers have received management action for not challenging the improper conduct of their colleagues.