A recommendation by magistrates not to give police officers the power to issue on-the-spot punishments for careless driving has been severely criticised by police chiefs.
The Magistrates' Association told the Department for Transport (DfT) during a consultation that police would misuse the power if it went ahead and the offence would be downgraded.
Proposals suggest giving the police the ability to issue £60 fixed penalties and three penalty points to any motorist guilty of reckless driving. This would replace the current system, which has the cases heard in court with the potential for a £5,000 fine and up to nine points on their licence.
Chief Superintendent Derek Barnett, who is the president-elect of the Police Superintendents' Association, said that magistrates were issuing a slap in the face to the integrity and professionalism of the service.
On BBC Radio 4 he said: "I think that it is an extraordinary thing to say that police officers cannot be trusted and it is a certainty that officers will misuse their powers.
"Frankly, it is amazing and disappointing that they should be so stereotypical about police officers and impugn their professionalism, their judgment, and their integrity."
Copyright © Press Association 2009