I see from your correspondence columns (June, 1971, issue) that, yet again, the guardians of the “Police State” in which we live have struck another blow at the fundamental pillars of democracy on which we all exist. I refer to the “sneaky underhand stunt” which led to Mr. Stirling Moss being taken to task by “big brother” for crossing white lines. Quite apart from failing to see any reason whatsoever why Mr. Moss should be treated any differently from any other motorists on the public highway, I also find it hard to understand how people can be so indignant about police officers who are enforcing the law and not making the laws. However, if it was left to the individual police officer’s discretion to try each instance on what he feels are its particular merits our whole system of law and order would degenerate into chaos, having far greater implications than everyday motoring offences. Incidentally, in case I give the impression that I am a law abiding “do gooder”, I drive approximately 30,000 miles per year, have an endorsement for speeding and very much enjoy driving my sports car (purchased, incidentally, as a result of your road-test, but this is digressing). I can assure you that I do not feel persecuted.
However, it is time we got this matter into perspective; if we break laws, no matter how petty the laws seem, I cannot see how we have any right to complain if we are caught. There is no doubt whatsoever that a large number of motoring laws are petty, inconsistent and in some cases downright stupid, but blaming the police officers who enforce them is no solution. Laws are made in Parliament by our elected representatives and they are the only people who can alter them. How about everybody who writes to you complaining of persecution writing to their MP complaining about the law involved? We may then get something done.
Graham S. Thomson.
[It isn’t policemen enforcing the law that is in debate but citizens or police off duty reporting other citizens for what they think are unlawful actions, with magistrates taking the informers’ word against those of the defendants.—Ed.]