DORSET Police is suspending driver awareness courses for drivers who have already attended a course in the last three years.
The decision is the only change being made as a result of an investigation, which cleared the force of misleading the public over road safety and its driver awareness scheme.
The investigation was prompted by a complaint from Poole resident Ian Belchamber, who campaigns against the force’s use of speed cameras.
Hampshire Police was appointed to conduct the investigation. It rejected complaints against the chief constable and against the police’s use of cameras – including the controversial ‘speed on green’ camera at Poole’s Holes Bay Road – and the driver awareness course.
But police and crime commissioner Martyn Underhill said the force was operating outside national guidance by offering repeat offenders the chance to take another course within a three-year period. He said he was not satisfied that the rationale for the policy was adequately recorded.
He asked the chief constable to review the policy and present the evidence supporting its use to the force’s joint executive committee. “As a result the force has suspended this policy until the outcome of this review is published,” he said.
“This means the driver awareness course will only be available to drivers who have not already attended a course anywhere in the country within the past three years.” Mr Belchamber called for the Independent Police Complaints Commission to look at the case itself. He claimed the process had reached ‘misguided’ conclusions ‘by ignoring the key issues and points presented by one side while going into irrelevant issues in great depth’.