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Thursday, 23 August, 2001, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Senior policeman escapes speeding fine
Detective Superintendent Adrian Roberts
Adrian Roberts was not certain who was driving
A government law and order advisor has said the case of a senior police officer who escaped prosecution for speeding "sounds like the police equivalent of insider dealing".

The car of Detective Superintendent Adrian Roberts, head of Middlesbrough CID and former head of the force's traffic department, was caught on a camera he had introduced.

But he was let off with prosecution or a 60 fine after he said he could not be certain who was at the wheel when the speeding vehicle was caught on CCTV film.

Labour peer Lord Mackenzie, former head of the Police Superintendents' Association, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the defence would have been justified if it related to a shared, company car.

Case review

He said: "It seems that what Mr Roberts has done is use that defence, if you like, and by some miraculous means managed to use it successfully.

"I am absolutely staggered, because clearly there is a moral duty here for the police to obey the rules and obey the law.

"This is calculated, I think, to bring the police into disrepute."

The case will now be reviewed by a senior officer, although Cleveland Police have said the officer did nothing wrong.

The force is one of eight in the country to carry out a pilot scheme that allows officers to use mobile speed traps in a bid to cut road casualties.

lord Mackenzie
Lord Mackenzie: "Staggered" at decision

Up to 3,000 drivers are caught every month in the Cleveland Police force area, leading to about 1m in fines a year being ploughed back into safety schemes.

Mr Roberts is believed to have asked to see video footage of the incident.

He said he was not sure who was driving at the time, and the prosecution was withdrawn.

A Cleveland Police spokesman said: "An officer did receive a speeding ticket earlier this year and, following representations, that ticket was withdrawn.

"The officer corresponded in his capacity as a private citizen, as many motorists do, with no reference being made to his status as a police officer.

"In the light of the issue being raised, the matter will be reviewed."

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The BBC's Kevin Bocquet reports
"The case has attracted much criticism"
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