Waste of time offering help

I READ with concern Mr Searle s letter last week regarding Joe Public photographing motoring offenders and handing the pictures to the police. Last year I complained to them about parents parking cars on the pavement near a school, then going off to col

I READ with concern Mr Searle's letter last week regarding 'Joe Public' photographing motoring offenders and handing the pictures to the police.

Last year I complained to them about parents parking cars on the pavement near a school, then going off to collect their children.

I was advised there were no police available. The suggestion that I could take photographs met with approval. This I undertook but unfortunately got involved in a confrontation with the owners.

Within the hour I had a number of shots sealed in an envelope which in big letters was addressed to the 'Sector commander, Private and Confidential'.


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Next day a police officer called admitting he had come to collect the photographs and despite a protest, and in front of two witnesses, proceeded to open the envelope. He suggested he would return to take a statement, which we mutually agreed to change to the next day at the police station at 8am. He arrived late next morning and eventually took a statement.

Then, much to my surprise, he charged me for using racist remarks and bad language to the two car owners.

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On the advice of my solicitor I made a counter statement. I was later to learn that my statement may never have gone to the Crown Prosecution Service, leaving me to face the charges against me.

The Crown prosecutor and my solicitor were surprised at the mis-management of the trial. The photographs were studied at length but no charges were bought against the motor offenders.

I made an informal complaint to the original Sector Commander. He had not seen the photographs, but moved to another department and I had to complain to someone else.

I made an official complaint, received an incident number and an inspector appointed to look into the affair. To this day I have heard no more.

This leaves me to believe we have no efficient police service in March. I would advise against giving the police any photographic assistance other than via the press. In fact do not make any statement at all without a solicitor present.

JIM SAMUELS

Beech Grove, March

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