If I told you some bloke had told me that he'd heard from some bloke that something had happened, what would you think about it? Would you be sceptical as to whether I'd got the details right or not? Or would you just believe everything I said?
Well... a woman has been killed in a crash involving a police car. The Mail says:
A source is reported to have said the car was not on an emergency call, and was being driven by a young and newly qualified police driver.
'He had his sirens and blue lights on but there was never any 999 call - he had gone out to get a takeaway for his mates,' the source said, according to The Sun.
So someone told The Sun something. The Mail brings you the story thanks to the power of ctrl+C and ctrl+V, with no further checks on facts or questioning the police as to what actually happened. How much weight would you give to this? Would you decide you knew all the facts - or would you wait for more information? I know in my silly naivety I think we should wait for the outcomes of investigations and inquests, or possible criminal proceedings, but that's not the way things are done now. Here come de judge, jury and executioner, in the form of Mail commenters:
Yobs in uniform.
- Jimpy, Lincs, 25/8/2008 10:59
IF IT'S TRUE THAT THEY HAD THE SIRENS AND LIGHTS GOING WHICH MEANS THEY MUST HAVE BEEN SPEEDING, JUST TO GET A TAKE AWAY, IT'S UNFORGIVEABLE
AND THE DRIVER CONCERNED SHOULD BE SEVERELY DEALT WITH.
MY SYMPATHIES GO TO THE FAMILY OF THE UNFORTUNATE LADY
- Jackie, Cornwall U.K., 25/8/2008 12:22
CAPS LOCK! Funny that whenever there's a story about speed cameras in the Mail, the vast majority of people commenting claim that speed doesn't have any impact on road accidents in the slightest and that everyone should be allowed to speed as much as they want. But when it's a trained police driver... it's clearly the crime of the century.
Not surprised. It's a standing joke between me and my friends. Whenever a police car races by with sirens blaring and lights flashing we say: "Off to get their fish n chips!"
- Mike Kayson, London, 25/8/2008 12:26
Which, as we know Mike, makes it true.
Hop this plod gets 10 years in prison but he will probably be just given a desk job.
- dave expat, thailand, 25/8/2008 13:25
Yes, forget about those silly things like inquiries or inquests or even possible criminal proceedings... just go straight to the sentencing! But what crime should it be - causing death by dangerous driving? Careless driving?
this is a clear case of manslaughter.
- stanley knife, bolton, 25/8/2008 15:50
Manslaughter, right. I hope the CPS are taking this all down. But this commenter disagrees:
I guess a Murder charge is out of the question?
There will be records re the cars use at the time.... but hurry, the records might disappear!
- Mike P, Leeds, England, 25/8/2008 11:29
No, murder! I stand corrected. (Do we think Mike knows what murder is?)
i can tell you now the officer will not be jalled or sacked,he cant be under eu law,welcome to the new world order.
- jan szutta, United Kingdom, 25/8/2008 11:53
How comforting it must be for the victim's family to know that her death is being used as a springboard for anti-EU wingnuts like this.
Hang on, some sanity - a lone voice!
This is tragic, but the fact is that we don't actually know why this happened.
'A source' and 'a witness' are mentioned - unnamed - along with 'claims' that the car was picking up a takeaway. These cars have 'black boxes' in them which will tell exactly what was going on and, if the officer was at fault, no doubt he will be prosecuted for a number of offences which may include something like causing death by dangerous driving, but might only be driving without due care and attention - it will depend upon what the black box reveals. If he had his blue lights and sirens on and shouldn't have, then that will probably be dealt with through an internal dispciplinary procedure.
If he had been an 'ordinary' member of the public, the driver may well have been arrested, but he would have been allowed to continue working (and driving!!).
- emm, ex pat Amman, Jordan, 25/8/2008 16:31
This is very much a minority comment, though. A welcome reminder that ex-pats can contribute with insight and reason, too.
Immediate sack for anybody even remotely linked with this incident. No question about it.
- jim, Wirral,UK, 25/8/2008 14:05
At first I thought Jim was a joke but I've seen his comments on other stories and I'm really not so sure.
To the Daily Mail, please keep on top of this and lets all know the outcome. My prayers are with the family.
- Lorraine, Worthing UK, 25/8/2008 13:19
And if you're relying on the Mail to tell you the truth, my prayers are with you, Lorraine.