Editor's Viewpoint: On-duty PSNI officer caught driving at 151mph risks damaging public's confidence in forces of law and order
Many people are aware of the dangers of speed on our roads, and thousands have been penalised for speeding. However, our report today about an on-duty policeman being caught driving at more than 150 miles per hour is truly shocking.
The officer, who has not been identified, was one of 138 members of the PSNI who were the subject of an internal report for driving at excessive speeds since 2015 and given 'risk points'. This is a warning which falls short of a formal sanction for misconduct, a point many people will find surprising.
The police officer with the unenviable record of having driven at 151 miles per hour now finds themselves as one of the fastest - if not the fastest - speeders on Northern Ireland's roads.
This is not something a police officer sworn to uphold the law can feel proud of. Sadly, four other officers were caught driving at between 129 and 142 miles per hour, but, for whatever reason, none faced formal misconduct proceedings.
Nobody doubts that police officers on duty may on occasion need to break the speed limit, but 151 miles per hour is a scarcely credible two-and-a-half times above the national speed limit.
Many police officers receive specialised training in high-speed driving, but it is hard to imagine anyone - other than a fast jet pilot - having the reactions to handle a vehicle like the powerful Audi A6 Quattro Avanti at such high speeds. It begs the question as to whether there is one law for excessively speeding police officers and another for the rest of us. The reality, however, is that the speed limits are regularly exceeded by ordinary drivers.
Figures released this week by the road safety charity Brake show more than 100 people were caught driving at more than 100 miles per hour in Northern Ireland last year.
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It is a fundamental reality that police officers, unlike other citizens, are specifically paid to uphold the law, and clearly required to do so. Any slippage from the high professional standards expected of the police can only contribute to a falling-off in confidence in the forces of law and order. That is not in anyone's interests.