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Inbtsiyp

Driving offence interview questions

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Inbtsiyp

My force has progressed into the 21st century and almost all frontline officers can now issue TOR’s electronically at the road side using our issued tablets.

 

I have always liked a little bit of traffic work but in the past given call volume and demand not really had the time or motivation to deal with it.

 

I have issued my first electronic TOR the other day and I found it a surprisingly painless and reasonably efficient process. With this in mind I am inclined to start issuing more tickets.

 

To speed up the process I was wondering if anyone would be able to provide a list of some good practice offence specific questions to ask at the roadside to cover points to prove and negate commonly or even uncommonly used defences.

 

For example but not exhaustive asking about medical exceptions for not wearing a seatbelt or reason for using a phone when driving I.e making a 999 call ect.

 

Please don’t be afraid of suggesting what you might think are obvious questions as I’m sure they probably won’t be for me.

 

A comprehensive list for each offence would be preferred but ad hoc suggestions will do as well.

 

I intend on making a word document on my tablet for each offence list that I can then copy and paste into the TOR app and ask and record the responses on the roadside. I hope that this will again speed up the TOR issuing process and reduce the likely hold of attending court ect as all points to prove and defences have been covered. It will also hopefully prevent me issuing a TOR when not justified as if there is a reasonable/lawful excuse for the actions I can identify it immediately.

 

Suggestions for all offences that can be covered by using a TOR would be appreciated.

 

 

 

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SammyB
My force has progressed into the 21st century and almost all frontline officers can now issue TOR’s electronically at the road side using our issued tablets.
 
I have always liked a little bit of traffic work but in the past given call volume and demand not really had the time or motivation to deal with it.
 
I have issued my first electronic TOR the other day and I found it a surprisingly painless and reasonably efficient process. With this in mind I am inclined to start issuing more tickets.
 
To speed up the process I was wondering if anyone would be able to provide a list of some good practice offence specific questions to ask at the roadside to cover points to prove and negate commonly or even uncommonly used defences.
 
For example but not exhaustive asking about medical exceptions for not wearing a seatbelt or reason for using a phone when driving I.e making a 999 call ect.
 
Please don’t be afraid of suggesting what you might think are obvious questions as I’m sure they probably won’t be for me.
 
A comprehensive list for each offence would be preferred but ad hoc suggestions will do as well.
 
I intend on making a word document on my tablet for each offence list that I can then copy and paste into the TOR app and ask and record the responses on the roadside. I hope that this will again speed up the TOR issuing process and reduce the likely hold of attending court ect as all points to prove and defences have been covered. It will also hopefully prevent me issuing a TOR when not justified as if there is a reasonable/lawful excuse for the actions I can identify it immediately.
 
Suggestions for all offences that can be covered by using a TOR would be appreciated.
 
 
 


Inbtsiyp,

An interesting topic of discussion and one that I have pondered about previously.

Since the inception of my police career I have always conducted a contemporaneous note interview at the roadside when issuing a TOR. This was the way that I was taught to do it and I would do it for the majority, if not all, of the offences that I dealt with.

I have now moved in to a roads policing role and, since working with seasoned and substantially experienced officers, I have issued a significant amount of TORs but not conducted a single roadside interview. I have been enlightened to an alternative approach.

In essence, there is no requirement to conduct a contemporaneous interview because the onus is on the driver to prove their innocence or show that they have a defence etc. Regardless of what they say at the roadside, you are still going to issue the TOR and they will have to challenge the ticket, whether that be in or out of court.

An example of this is that you stop a motorist for not wearing their seatbelt. As you have already stated, there are statutory defences to not wearing a seatbelt (medical exemption, performing a reversing manoeuvre etc etc).

At the roadside the motorist states that they have a medical exemption certificate, however they cannot readily produce it to you. You would still issue them a TOR and they would have to produce the evidence of their defence at a later date. Conducting a roadside interview with them would be of little benefit, regardless of what they say.

I understand the point about covering points to prove and negating their defences, however this can be done via your evidence. It is the way that I have always done it.

It’s not easy to get the example across over a forum but I hope it makes a modicum of sense. To say the least I was very surprised that this was the way of doing this considering how I had been taught.

Essentially I suppose that you don’t need to reply on a roadside interview for these types of offences as they are quite often black and white.

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Sceptre
Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, SammyB said:

...the onus is on the driver to prove their innocence or show that they have a defence etc. 

No, apart from a few prescribed circumstances it is not - the burden of proving the offence is on the prosecution. If  you are going to ask questions about an offence then you ought to do it in a PACE-compliant fashion, which means under caution and in a proper interview. Traffic officers might be very fast and loose about it but that doesn't make doing it like that either legal or the best advice to give to new officers. 

22 minutes ago, SammyB said:

Regardless of what they say at the roadside, you are still going to issue the TOR and they will have to challenge the ticket, whether that be in or out of court.

Are we parking wardens now? If someone shows me a seatbelt exemption certificate, shows me a 999 call on their phone made with good reason at the time I saw them or is driving without an MOT but was actually on their way to a prearranged appointment why would I still give them a ticket??

Edited by Sceptre
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SammyB
Are we parking wardens now? If someone shows me a seatbelt exemption certificate, shows me a 999 call on their phone made with good reason at the time I saw them or is driving without an MOT but was actually on their way to a prearranged appointment why would I still give them a ticket??


I’m not sure why you have not quoted the first, and important half, of my example . Maybe I didn’t make it clear but the example was specifically in relation to a seatbelt offence whereby a motorist cannot provide evidence of an exemption. I had not delved in to the other offences that you have mentioned and I have not stated that you would issue a ticket for every offence on every single occasion.

How is the onus not on the defendant to provide evidence of their innocence / defence? Obviously this would apply on a case-by-case / offence basis, however with these type of offences the points to prove for the prosecution are complete.

- The PNC shows that a vehicle is uninsured. This can be corroborated with the MIB. Your evidence supplements this by provide a time / date / location and that the vehicle was being driven etc. The onus is therefore on the driver to provide evidence that they were insured at the time.

- Similar with a driving licence offence.

- The MOT offence you eluded to. The PNC shows that the MOT has expired. Your evidence shows that the vehicle was being driven etc. The onus is again on the driver to provide evidence that they were en route to a pre-booked appointment.

I think you may have also misconstrued the initial parts of my post. At no point has it been suggested that any contemporaneously conducted interviews should not be PACE complaint, after caution etc. The purpose of the post was to highlight other methods of completing traffic process in a way that does not include an interview.

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Sceptre

The onus generally isn't on the motorist because that's not how our justice system works! There are a handful of instances where a reverse burden of proof exists, some of which you've quoted, but making a broad-brush statement that we don't need to bother gathering evidence because it's for the defendant to prove they're not guilty is not correct. Neither of those quotes were obviously to do with seatbelts, they appeared very general in nature. 

The bottom line is if you're asking someone questions about an offence, you ought to be doing that in an interview as per Code C, S10.1. Requesting documents is exempt, but once you start digging deeper if they aren't forthcoming then to be technically correct it still ought to be an interview - lots of people might well not do it but we ought not criticise someone for trying to do things right.

Quote
  1. A person whom there are grounds to suspect of an offence, see Note 10A, must be cautioned before any questions about an offence, or further questions if the answers provide the grounds for suspicion, are put to them if either the suspect’s answers or silence, (i.e. failure or refusal to answer or answer satisfactorily) may be given in evidence to a court in a prosecution. A person need not be cautioned if questions are for other necessary purposes, e.g.:

    1. (a)  solely to establish their identity or ownership of any vehicle;

    2. (b)  to obtain information in accordance with any relevant statutory requirement, see paragraph 10.9;

    3. (c)  in furtherance of the proper and effective conduct of a search, e.g. to determine the need to search in the exercise of powers of stop and search or to seek co-operation while carrying out a search; or

    4. (d)  to seek verification of a written record as in paragraph 11.13.

 

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Inbtsiyp

I can see points from both sides, yes@Sammyb if the driver stated that he had a medical exemption certificate but couldn’t produce/prove it at the time I would still issue a TOR it is still in my opinion prudent to ask as the driver might well have a certificate in the glove compartment and for what ever reason has neglected to mention it in which case me asking would prompt a response and negate the need to issue.

Aside from all this though and at risk of sounding like a dictator I was hopping this thread would produce suggestions for questions rather than a debate on if we should or not and it appears as such that it has rather strand of topic already.

Has anyone got any question suggestions?

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BlueBob

Perhaps SammyB’s initial comments are being taken too literal.  In some ways, it’s how the first contact is made which can resolve an issue.  Not wishing to dwell too much but as an intro of “is there a reason for my seeing you without a seatbelt?” Is a way to help define if there is a need for further questions.    For most other offences, if the offence evidence is taken then there is usually no need to ask questions- C&U offences being the easiest examples.  Apart from asking if they had checked their lights at start of their journey.  

But so far we have avoided answering the OP!

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MerseyLLB

The first question I ask is - how on earth have I found time to deal with a minor road traffic offence? I jest. I assume you are in a Q area so I'll humour your request. 

I've issued perhaps 2 TORs in the past 18 months- usually because in the time I conduct a traffic stop an immediate call will come in and I must assess the pros and cons of staying to deal with a minor traffic process over attending an emergency. The two i issued were for careless driving after a semi FTS and one for no insurance. 

Enough of me...to your question:

Seatbelt - do you hold any medical exemption certificates?

Mobile phone - have you made any phone calls to the emergency services?

Docs check - May I have your drivers licence, insurance certificate, MOT and vehice registration please? No? I require your name, address and DOB. 

Speeding - Where's the fire?

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CountyCop
22 hours ago, MerseyLLB said:

The first question I ask is - how on earth have I found time to deal with a minor road traffic offence? I jest. I assume you are in a Q area so I'll humour your request. 

I've issued perhaps 2 TORs

in the past 18 months- usually because in the time I conduct a traffic stop an immediate call will come in and I must assess the pros and cons of staying to deal with a minor traffic process over attending an emergency. The two i issued were for careless driving after a semi FTS and one for no insurance. 

Enough of me...to your question:

Seatbelt - do you hold any medical exemption certificates?

Mobile phone - have you made any phone calls to the emergency services?

Docs check - May I have your drivers licence, insurance certificate, MOT and vehice registration please? No? I require your name, address and DOB. 

Speeding - Where's the fire?

That two more TORs than me and most of my team.....

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MerseyLLB
13 hours ago, CountyCop said:

That two more TORs than me and most of my team.....

I'm an extremely hard worker, my PDR says so.🤣

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SD

What about “I was wearing a seatbelt, you’re mistaken officer”

On a side note how many want FILA when stopped? I find that alone a reason not to stop for minor offences. Waiting 20 mins for a legal advice is a pain.

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Chaos

... why would we be having to interview at the side of the road for such minor offences like seatbelt, mobile phones, speeding and red lights etc..

If I have seen the driver complete the offence, then yes a quick question to negate any defences, but nothing more...

Then they would get an OSCO...

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MerseyLLB
19 minutes ago, Chaos said:

... why would we be having to interview at the side of the road for such minor offences like seatbelt, mobile phones, speeding and red lights etc..

If I have seen the driver complete the offence, then yes a quick question to negate any defences, but nothing more...

Then they would get an OSCO...

Depending what that question is...it's potentially an interview.

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Billy Blue Tac

 

On 16/05/2018 at 20:32, Inbtsiyp said:

I was hopping this thread would produce suggestions for questions rather than a debate

Sorry, Inbtsiyp, but I can't help myself and am sorry for prolonging the tangent...

 

On 16/05/2018 at 17:24, SammyB said:

I have always conducted a contemporaneous note interview at the roadside when issuing a TOR. This was the way that I was taught to do it and I would do it for the majority, if not all, of the offences that I dealt with.

I have now moved in to a roads policing role and, since working with seasoned and substantially experienced officers, I have issued a significant amount of TORs but not conducted a single roadside interview. I have been enlightened to an alternative approach.

In essence, there is no requirement to conduct a contemporaneous interview because the onus is on the driver to prove their innocence or show that they have a defence etc.

 

On 16/05/2018 at 19:06, Sceptre said:

The bottom line is if you're asking someone questions about an offence, you ought to be doing that in an interview as per Code C, S10.1. 

As a Disclosure guru*, I would suggest that the bottom line is actually CPIA 1996.

The shorthand version is that all officers are responsible for recording and retaining material that may be relevant to an investigation in a durable and retrievable format - be it pocket note book, official tablet or on a ticket - at the time or soon after while the events are still fresh in the mind.

I cannot see many occasions when an officer asks a person about their involvement in a suspected criminal offence, and the person's replies or unsolicited comments, do not meet this requirement.

 (*please don't judge me, everybody has flaws)

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Chaos

It's a caution enough !!

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