Court finds South Yorkshire Chief Constable guilty of speeding

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The area where the Chief Constable was caught speeding.

The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police in England, Meredydd Hughes, was found guilty of speeding at Wrexham Magistrates Court today and banned from driving. He was caught driving at 90 mph where the speed limit was 60 mph. Wrexham Magistrates court disqualified Hughes from driving for 42 days and fined him £350.

The Chief Constable did not appear in court in person, but was represented by his solicitor, Huw Edwards. Mr Edwards said:

"He doesn't seek to make any excuse about this matter. He totally accepts that the police have a duty to do. He is no exception and he accepts that he must be punished for the offence."

"He asks me to apologise for the offence. He recognises that the matter is a serious matter."

Hughes had already received six penalty points on his license from previous speeding convictions and a conviction for failing to identify the speeding driver of one of his force's vehicles in 2006, although his driving licence was free of points at the time he went to court. Wrexham Magistrates Court had adjourned the case to today from a date in late November, as Meredydd Hughes initially claimed that he has still not yet found a solicitor to represent him.

Matthew Elliot, the Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, criticized Hughes for wasting Court time at the taxpayer's expense. "Meredydd Hughes has shown breathtaking hypocrisy in this case," said Elliot. "Not only has he been caught preaching one thing and doing another in the past, but he has also wasted court time and therefore taxpayers’ money."

Jools Townsend, speaking for the Road Safety Campaign group Brake, said the offence was "Shocking" and the sentence "lenient" - and that the Chief Constable should "Seriously consider his position as a result".

The incident is embarrassing for South Yorkshire Police, as Hughes was the Chair of ACPO's road policing enforcement committee, with responsibility for developing police policies about how speed cameras are used. Hughes is a supporter of mobile speed cameras and believes that all speed cameras should be deliberately hidden from motorists, and has given interviews on the importance of road safety management in businesses.