It is considered an offence under Scottish law to own a driving licence with incorrect details. Within nine months of Police Scotland’s creation, the number of people caught in breach of this law rocketed from 408 to 1,645 – a staggering increase over the past 12 months of 400%. According to police insiders, this is down to traffic police officers targeting motorists who have just moved house, the Daily Record reports.
Some solicitors are accusing traffic cops of targeting new housing estates in order to catch people who have yet to change the address on their driving licence. This practise has been adopted to help the prosecution meet certain targets, critics claim. While this is a comparatively minor offence, carrying a driving licence with incorrect details can allow police officers to hand people a fine of up to £1,000.
Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrat party, criticised the practice as “unfair and unreasonable.” Such policing tactics pose the danger of eroding trust between the police and the people they are supposed to protect, Rennie stated.
However, the road policing force denied the existence of any specific targets for its officers. Chief Inspector Simon Bradshaw, a member of the road policing unit, dismissed allegations of traffic cops going after house movers. He stressed that road policing officers have never had specific targets. Bradshaw attributed the spike in offences to a greater focus on road traffic safety and stronger enforcement since the creation of Police Scotland. This in turn reflects concerns expressed by local communities, as people consistently place road safety among their top priorities, Bradshaw added.