Police vow to target loophole drivers

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The Independent Online

Dangerous drivers who use expensive lawyers to escape conviction are to be targeted by police, a senior officer warned today.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) wants police and Crown Prosecution Service lawyers to make stronger cases against drivers whose legal teams use loopholes in the law to get them off.

One chief constable said that officers would be "looking for" motorists who had been "unjustly acquitted".

But the comment by Meredydd Hughes, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, led to civil rights group Liberty warning that this could see police unlawfully targeting individuals they believe have been unfairly acquitted of motoring offences.

Police across Britain have voiced frustration that lawyers well versed in motoring laws are using small print to win acquittals for people charged with reckless or drink-driving.

Acpo is also introducing a team made up of a lawyer and a former police officer to help prosecute speed camera cases.

The association hopes motorists will decide against contesting their speeding charge because if they lose, their costs will include up to £4,000 for the team.

Celebrities have used lawyers such as Nick Freeman, who is known as Mr Loophole. His past clients include Sir Alex Ferguson and David Beckham.

Mr Hughes said there was increasing frustration with lawyers who use legal small print to help win acquittals for clients.

"There have been a number of cases where people feel that justice has not been done, both in the drink-driving world and in other cases where people have evaded the law having driven cars recklessly and at very high speeds," he told the BBC.

"I think my colleagues in the roads policing groups will share my anger when people are unjustly acquitted and I'm sure they'll be looking for those drivers.

"And if they haven't mended their ways we have an attitude in the police service that we'll see them again sometime," he said.