In many American states and Canadian provinces it seems to be a growing trend that vehicles no longer need to have front licence plates, but from the perspective of serious crimes this is madness.
Highway patrol policing never has been just about speeding and other traffic misdemeanors. The interception of criminals, often dangerous individuals, has always been a major role of such law enforcement officers.
Politicians who’ve never got their hands dirty or been close to anyone’s grief over a raped daughter or a murdered child think that there’s no need for front license plates.
Now imagine that you are a police officer on your way to a scene where a woman has been kidnapped by a known stalker who has violently attacked her in the past and is now breaching probation and a court order by going near her. Or maybe a known pedophile has kidnapped a child.
You have only a color for the vehicle but you do have a license plate number. However, many of the cars coming towards you have no front plate!
Why? Because politicians who’ve never got their hands dirty or been close to anyone’s grief over a raped daughter or a murdered child think that there’s no need for front license plates.
Yet these things very obviously do happen…. far too often!
And what about amber alerts? Do we want a suspect’s car to be able to get past a police car going in the opposite direction, all because the officer can’t get a look at the plate?
Before anyone says that the police can always look at the back plate then that only applies if the police vehicle is parked or by great good luck happens to be behind the criminal’s car. And incidentally, in the event of a serious crime police cars should typically only be strategically parked if there are very few roads emanating from the scene and a cordon is complete (with a narrowing dragnet inside it). But here are two questions to clarify this even farther:
- If you are driving and you can check only the cars going the same way as you, how many vehicles and license plates do you see in, say, ten minutes?
- But if you can read the plates of vehicles coming towards you, how many will you see in the same time period. The answer, of course, is hundreds more, so which method is inevitably more efficient in catching dangerous criminals?
That’s all we have to say about this because anyone who thinks this utterly needless situation is even remotely acceptable is undeserving of any additional polite words.
In the interests of what some might consider to be full disclosure, the writer of this post is a retired traffic patrol police officer and during his career was involved in the arrest of various criminals in the manner described above.
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