When was the last time you were caught speeding and told your friends that it was a fair cop?
Instead, did you tell your friends – or anyone who would listen – that the cops were being unfair by hiding their radar behind bushes, at the bottom of the hill or in a double-lane passing zone?
Did you complain about entrapment, a lack of leniency or the complete absence of compassion?
Did you say the police were rude, judgemental, lecturing or lacked any judgement of the prevailing road conditions?
It isn’t only an issue regarding speeding, but also the fairness – or lack – of fining riders for inconsequential, confounding and obtuse laws regarding tinted visors, helmet cams and non-compliant helmets.
In these days of zero tolerance, there is no room for police to have any judgment or compassion. And with official or unofficially implied fine targets by superiors, there is pressure to get fines by almost any means police can, which seems to include the underhanded conduct of hiding behind bushes or setting up radar cameras at the end of double-lane passing zones where people accelerate to get past the last vehicle.
That’s not a fair cop at all.
I got a let-off from the South Australian police in 2013 for a minor speeding infringement, but it’s been a long time since I’ve heard of anyone else being let off by police for a minor indiscretion.
Sure the government must bear some blame for its zero tolerance laws and its chest-beating about speeding and other offences, but the police have to apply the law in a way that the public is educated to obey and act safely.
However, zero tolerance and the manner in which some police exercise their duties are severely eroding public confidence in the police.
They can’t have it both ways. They either want us to respect and obey the police, or they can behave in such a way that people will despise and resent the police.
Police will only encounter more difficulty in performing their duties if the pubic is hostile or resentful to the police, or just plain scared of them.
This is not a cop-bashing exercise. It may sound hackneyed, but I’m surrounded by cops as good friends, riding partners and in-laws.
But what ever happened to the days when a fair cop could behave like a fair cop?