So you’ve read part 1, and worked out you’ve got some evidence you can take to the police that makes the beyond-reasonable-doubt grade for a close passing infringement. You can now take it to them, show it on your laptop, they’ll do the rest and it’s all right, right?
Wrong. It’s not that simple.
Balancing competing priorities
While it would work that way in an ideal world, police time is finite and we’re competing with violent crime, drug dealers, fatal car crashes and the like for their attention. An incident where no-one got hurt is going to be low on their list of priorities.
On the other hand, not getting hurt is very high on the list of our priorities.
How do we reasonably balance those competing priorities?
Strategy for Action on Close Passing Infringements
The nature of the game changes from demanding immediate action, to one of giving the police as much time as possible to work around their other urgencies, while documenting the evidence in such a way as it becomes impossible to reasonably ignore your close passing complaint. Then, you need to patiently and persistently follow up.
My strategy has been to establish a documentary trail of evidence. By doing as much of the police’s leg work for them as I possibly can, it minimises the amount of work they have to do, removing excuses for taking action. Having sent it in writing, and getting acknowledgement of its receipt through tracked mail, it also sends a message that they need to do something with it. It can’t simply be ignored.
Tell the story in picures
As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, I prefer to join the dots using pictures. This lets them see for themselves the key points and is much more impactful than a hard-to-read screed with little white space.
So before I get onto what to write, let’s look at how I do that.
Joining the dots using pictures
Step 1: Visualise location of incident
Google maps is a wonderful thing.
Step 2: Establish position of the cameras, front and rear
Step 3: Establish position of the bike on the road compared to landmark
Step 5a: Position of the car on the road compared to landmark 1 of 2
Step 5b: Position of the car on the road compared to landmark, 2 of 2
Step 6: Visual summary of measurements
Optional Step 7: Screen capture identifying driver
“Hey mate! Smile for the camera please!”
Step 8: Video
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not the video submitted to the police for evidence.
It is a cut-down version edited for public consumption
It is essential that unedited full video files of the incident are given to the police. I have been burning them to DVD, along with a copy of the complaint and draft Police Statement so they can copy and paste rather than retype from the printed copy.
Pulling it together
Once you have told the story with these pictures you need to build around it a short covering letter explaining the high points of the incident and why police need to act despite there being no contact and no injuries.
Likening close passing with to drink driving, speeding, and texting while driving are valid comparisons, all of which the police treat with utmost seriousness. The covering letter has the above images and headings as an attachment, followed by a draft police statement. By far the greatest amount of time goes into the draft police statement, but it is a crucial piece of the puzzle.
The next piece in the series will give you examples of how to write your covering letter and police statement.