Sunday 14 February 2016

Putting The Brakes On The Whistleblower

The Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme (VDRS) may not be a name you instantly recognise but you will be aware of it's raison d'etre.

It's where police officers (usually traffic police with white around their hats) stop you in your vehicle and slap you with a ticket to get something fixed on your vehicle. They especially like to pick on you for things you could not reasonably have known were faulty - like a back brake bulb being out for example.

The largest part of a traffic police officer's time is spent targeting members of the public because this is what brings in the money for the police. No matter how insignificant something is, traffic police will still 'do' you for it and treat you like a common criminal.

Be honest, do you know anyone who checks both their rear brake lights every time they get in to their car? I don't. The idea that you would ask someone to stand behind your car looking at your brake lights while you pump the brake pedal every time you leave the house, stop to buy a newspaper, or leave a supermarket car park, is absurd. You don't do it, I don't do it, even police officers themselves don't do it. It's a nonsense.

Don't misunderstand me, safety is important and I'm quite happy for police to stop us and advise us about things like a faulty brake light, but we should not be made in to criminals because of it.

Alas, this isn't the way it works though. So whether we like it or not, the sad fact is that drivers who have any defects whatsoever with their vehicle can fully expect a haughty finger to be wagged in their face from that most boring and motley crew of corrupt coppers - the Scottish traffic police.

And now we discover that your chances of getting that haughty finger wag from Mr Plod - white-top variety - depends very much on where you live in Scotland.

Because in some areas of Scotland you can expect to get pulled over and ticketed more than in other areas.

For example 55 drivers got ticketed for broken headlights in Tayside last year compared with 4484 in Forth Valley.

The only reason we know this shocking statistic is because a couple of coppers in the know privately spilled the beans about it to one of their colleagues - and that colleague then blew the whistle on it.

So will untrustworthy Police Scotland use their resources to fix this unfairness and treat all members of the public, no matter where they reside in Scotland, equally and fairly?

Or will they use their resources to hunt down the whistle-blower and nail him or her up on the station wall?

You don't really have to ask do you?