Hampshire Police have quietly dropped a case against Chris Christofi for failing to display a tax disc.
Chris found a penalty notice on his vehicle issued by a “Special” Police Officer (or “plastic bobby” as some people unkindly refer to them) last winter following a visit to Petersfield, and opted to fight the case rather than submit to a fine and conviction. The “offence” – which potentially carries a fine of up to £2,000 – was referred for prosecution despite the fact that the vehicle was fully taxed and it was the DVLA which had failed to supply the disc for display.
Chris said that on the day he had hoped to enjoy the pretty but “otherwise exceptionally boring” town of Petersfield, but the experience was marred by the fine. “
“Obviously the officer did not have any murders or terrorists to deal with that day and decided the town needed livening up“
said Christofi, who said the incident reminded him scenes from the film “Hot Fuzz”.
Almost a year after opting to defend, in December 2013 the law relating to tax discs was reviewed by the government who concluded that displaying Tax Discs was anachronistic . The requirement to display a tax disk is being abolished in 2014. “ By the time it was about to get to court it was obviously not in the public interest or proportionate to pursue someone for this and someone in the prosecution must have realised that there was a distinct possibility that the case might set legal precedents.
I think that more experienced regular bobbies would not have tried to pursue the matter, and some of them must have been rolling their eyes when they came across the file. Unfortunately most people would just submit to this type of fine or prosecution because of cost and inconvenience – in this case taking a day off work to travel to Petersfield – and that gives authorities an unfair advantage”.
Chris said that he hopes that the officer in question has been moved on to better things by his colleagues “like checking dog licences, maybe”.
For more details visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/direct-debit-and-abolition-of-the-tax-disc