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I've had a letter from the police!

(36 Posts)
clarabellabunting Tue 19-Nov-13 13:57:06

I have received a letter from the police asking me to confirm who was driving my vehicle on a particular date and time because the vehicle 'was involved with a collision with a stationary vehicle' in the car park where I used to work (the date is over a month ago and I have since moved jobs).

I was not aware of any collision at the time but the letter says that I failed to stop, failed to leave details and failed to report. I obviously need to reply saying that I was driving the car that day and in that place but I'm really worried about the likely consequences as I was totally unaware of any collision, if there was one.

The letter gives the time of the incident as between 8:45am and 8:00pm, which is strange and makes me wonder why they have identified my car as being the one involved, since if there was a witness, surely they would know what time it occurred (and the same would apply to CCTV - I'm not sure if there was any in the carpark).

I could not rule out 100% that the incident occurred as the carpark in question is very tight and is a bit of a nightmare to manoeuvre in. I have several times come back to my car to find mysterious scrapes and scratches which I assumed had been done by other drivers during the day. However, I would never not stop and leave details if I thought I had damaged someone's car and I have never knowingly had a ‘collision’ in the car park.

What will the likely outcome of this be? Will I have to go to court? If it turns out that I have damaged someone's car, I am happy to pay for the damage, etc.

LIZS Tue 19-Nov-13 17:00:59

Is the letter genuine ? Normally it would come from an insurance company as it is on private land and police wouldn't get involved.

vj32 Tue 19-Nov-13 17:12:14

Police will get involved on private land if someone fails to stop.

custardo Tue 19-Nov-13 17:14:40

i would say
i was driving the car, however there was no colission unless you have cctv to prove otherwise

WannabeFayeMouse Tue 19-Nov-13 17:16:25

don't ignore it, but don't assume you are guilty. A friend had a similar experience with a letter saying he'd gone through a level crossing when the light was red. He's a very careful driver and was mortified - and as it happened when he got more details he could prove he wasn't at the place at that time (because he was somewhere else!). So don't panic until you get more info.

Lancelottie Tue 19-Nov-13 17:26:56

Please ask them for CCTV evidence. I had to challenge a driving offence letter: yes I own the car with reg XX, yes I was driving it on that day, but no, dears, that is not my car on your footage on that one-way street, because mine is brown and that one's blue...

Actually, it took a bit of arguing, as 'wrong car' wasn't one of the tick-boxes.

wearingpurple Tue 19-Nov-13 17:28:19

This happened to my brother a few years back - turned out that somebody had cloned his number plate.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 19-Nov-13 17:33:58

I've been at it from the other side. Car hit mine and drove off. Got the numberplate.

Police paid them a visit and the owner/driver just said it wasn't them. Police weren't in the slightest bit interested in taking it further as they said there was no proof. And this was a big accident which involved them breaking the law and causing it. And I even had an independent witness!

So I shouldn't worry about it. Reply, say there was no accident you are aware of, no damage to your car, etc.

LIZS Tue 19-Nov-13 18:38:40

Could well be circumstantial though . Owner may not have seen the incident then noted next day you regularly park nearby and had similar paint colour to the damage on theirs . If it is for real state you did drive your car to and from that location on that day but no such incident occurred.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Tue 19-Nov-13 18:45:03

I wouldnt reply to that letter, i would go to your local police station and make sure it is a genuine letter first and if so tell them that is your car but there was no accident a if they insist there was then insist on seeing cctv footage.

Nicknacky Tue 19-Nov-13 18:50:57

You are not being accused at this point. It is a requirement under s172 rta 1988 to provide the name and address of the driver for consideration of prosecution for the offences listed.

It doesn't mean you will be prosecuted, they are required by law to inform you of that possibility.

ChristmasCareeristBitchNigel Thu 21-Nov-13 11:57:23

They are simply writing to you as they are carrying out an investigation into what happened. Presumably the owner of the vehicle that was damaged has made a complaint that someone has damaged their car and not left details and now the police are duty bound to investigate. As they don't know who was driving they have to write to the registered keeper of the vehicle according to the DVLA database.

Just answer the letter with the truth. "it's a very tight carpark, yes I was driving the vehicle, no I am not aware of hitting anything on that date"

clarabellabunting Sun 16-Feb-14 15:07:39

Just an update on this. It turns out that I must have scraped a car when reverse parking without realising. I spoke to the PC investigating on the phone and he said it sounds like I was unaware of the collision, which would mean they wouldn't pursue the offence of not stopping, exchanging details and reporting, etc.

I have informed my insurance company and given all the necessary details to them and the police.

However, I have just had an email from the PC saying that his Sergeant would like me to come in for a voluntary interview. He says that he is aware that I don't live locally and no longer work in the area so it is up to me whether to come or not. But that a decision about whether to prosecute me for the not stopping and reporting offences maybe based on what I say during this interview.

I don't know what to do. He says it is voluntary but if I don't go I'm worried it could count against me somehow. Would me not coming influence them into prosecuting me? It would be quite difficult for me to get there and I'm wondering if him acknowledging the fact I'm not local is a hint that I shouldn't worry about coming if it's not convenient.

Does anyone have any advice? I'm petrified of the thought of going to be interviewed at a police station, which doesn't make this decision any easier!

TaraLott Sun 16-Feb-14 15:12:03

Surely you would know if you had scraped another car?
Have they got CCTV?
What damage is there to your car?
There must be scraped paintwork at the very least and not just a random old scratch.

clarabellabunting Sun 16-Feb-14 15:19:26

Maybe that's what the police are thinking but I was honestly unaware. I questioned the PC investigating and he sent me a screen cap from the CCTV footage, which kind of looks like there is contact between the cars (it's hard to tell from a still picture).

Anyway I said that I'd trust his judgement as I couldn't make it to the station to view the footage myself. Our car is a bit old and battered and we certainly didn't notice any scrape at the time. The car park in question is a bit of a nightmare to park in with tiny spaces and myself and most of my work mates have come back to find unexplained scrapes on our cars before so I suppose it could have been one of those.

clarabellabunting Sun 16-Feb-14 15:42:42

I'm just in two minds about attending this voluntary interview. Any advice would've gratefully received! Especially from anyone who knows how the police work. Does them inviting me mean they don't believe me?

Pipkinhartley Sun 16-Feb-14 19:04:49

They are inviting you to put your side across and the voluntary interview will still be under caution.
It may be worth contacting the investigating officer and reiterate it's not convenient for you to attend for the reasons you have outlined but if you do want to have the opportunity to respond, it may be worth asking if they will request an officer more local to you or (if applicable) in your force area be tasked with conducting a contemporaneous interview at a location that suits you (contemporaneous is written down, verbatim, it can take some time.)
However, if you go to the station, you will be given your rights, which includes free and independent legal advice. You may wish to accept this - it does not suggest you feel you are guilty, it's as it says- advice, which the duty solicitor will provide upon being made aware of the circumstances. This may be via phone as a voluntary attender, but also may be in person.
Also, may be worth checking if your car or household insurance has free legal advice, a quick call should let you know.
Good luck, hope you get it sorted!

NadiaWadia Mon 17-Feb-14 06:48:40

It is quite pathetic how much time and energy the police devote to minor incidents like this. You were obviously unaware you had touched the other car, you have given your insurance details etc quite willingly, so what purpose does it serve for them to keep dragging this on?

Why don't they concentrate on solving real crimes? I suppose that would be too much like hard work, they probably pick up some kind of points for easy pointless work like this.

NadiaWadia Mon 17-Feb-14 06:50:37

Sorry OP not helpful I know, but it is something that really annoys me!

Perfectlypurple Mon 17-Feb-14 06:54:46

nadia it is an offence to not stop at an accident which is why police investigate. If they didn't people just wouldn't stop. I am sure you would feel different if it was your car. Where do you draw the line? Criminal damage to your fence/front door - minor. Lets not bother investigating!

ihatethecold Mon 17-Feb-14 07:10:34

It's a good thing they are persuing this.
My car was written off by someone going into the back of me and then driving off, it has cost me thousands because there is nobody to claim from.

NadiaWadia Mon 17-Feb-14 07:28:50

But it wasn't an 'accident' exactly, was it? Happened in a car park and the OP was unaware, which the first policeman she spoke to seemed to accept. As for paying for the damage, the OP has accepted that it seems she did cause it unknowingly, and has given her insurance details, so the other driver will be able to get their claim paid. Problem solved.

So again, what purpose does it serve for the police to keep pursuing it? I think it's just cause it is easy for them, and they get points for every minor thing they chalk up, when they should be dealing with more important matters.

Perfectlypurple Mon 17-Feb-14 08:34:21

They don't get points! It was an accident even if the op was unaware. The police have certain things that has to be done before a file can be closed. They have to be sure that no offences have been committed.

NadiaWadia Mon 17-Feb-14 08:58:12

Hmm, well maybe you are right but I am sure I saw a documentary/read something in the newspaper a couple of years ago about how the police have certain targets to meet, and often it is easier for them to go after simple things to get their score up, rather than dealing with serious criminal stuff. Then I saw an undercover documentary on channel 4 where a serving policewoman showed how they would drive past trouble happening on the streets, pretending they didn't see it, as it was less hassle for them this way. I have never forgotten this, as it was actually in my local police area (Leics).

A bit in the same way as schools have to jump through Ofsted hoops and tick boxes, I suppose.

Nicknacky Mon 17-Feb-14 10:08:50

Nadia you are wrong. A possible offence has been reported to the police and they are duty bound to investigate it. It doesn't then follow that more serious crimes are not investigated because of this.

I'm really not sure what programme you are referring to but it is neglect of duty to fail to deal with an incident that was happening in front of you. Unless or course, the officers were attending to another incident and were unable to stop and deal with it.

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