13 September 2013
Driving Offences Solicitor on the sacking of a speeding 999 first responder
It has been reported this week that 999 first responder Godfrey Smith was sacked for doing 33mph in a 20mph zone whilst rushing to save a man’s life after he collapsed and couldn’t breathe.
Driving Offences Solicitor Paul Reddy says “firstly it is important to note that this story doesn’t mention any formal prosecution by the police or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Neither has it been before the courts despite the fact that the “offence” is one that could attract 4/6 points or a disqualification of up to 28 days. It is unclear whether they have considered this matter or not but, for the sake of Mr Smith, I hope they do not consider this case to be worthy of prosecution as in my view it would not be in the public interest to pursue it.
The Police, Fire and Ambulance services, as emergency service professionals, have an exemption from driving within with the speed limits, but only in certain emergency circumstances.
It seems here that Mr Smith has been completely mistreated by South Central Ambulance Service because of a minor complaint from someone who probably wasn’t aware of the full facts of the situation or reasons for his speeding. This treatment of him is deplorable, particularly given his years of service as a volunteer. I find it hard to believe the Ambulance service have reacted in this way and as a result, the service is further compromised as they have now lost two further drivers and paramedics to deal with the demands of the service as his son has also left the service in support of his Father.
Should this case have gone before the Courts, Mr Smith may have been considered to be an emergency responder under the exemption above. But even if he wasn’t, he could almost certainly have applied for ‘Special Reasons’ to apply to his circumstances and, if accepted, the Court would have had the discretion to avoid imposing any sort of sentence".