It is not often that one has a bubbling excitement to tell the island of the experience after being stopped by the police; excitement created by pleasant surprise and a heaping helping of renewed respect, for the police generally, and specifically for the officer who dealt with me.
On the last day of August on my way home at around 10pm I drove into a police check stop just east of the round about at Grand Harbour. On slowly passing an officer scanning windshields, I was directed to park on the shoulder.
Another officer, PC Winston Forth, came over to me, confirmed the car was mine and then said my tag was seriously out of date.
He then took my drivers license and went to his cruiser.
On his return he confirmed my address and then, in the most professional, respectful but firm tone informed me that he was warning me for prosecution due to the length of time since my tag expired.
In an equally respectful tone I accepted responsibility for the oversight and admitted that although I drove the car every day I honestly missed seeing the date on the tag.
After a few seconds thought the officer then said to me that should I have the expired tag replaced and show him at the traffic office and he would consider the matter closed.
Of course I was happy to save money and the time it would take to resolve the matter should I have been prosecuted. However, you cannot imagine the impact on me of dealing with a person in authority having all the power and yet retaining the capacity to exercise discretion, kindness and empathy.
When I went to the traffic office to keep my end of the bargain I wanted to report the matter to his superior but unfortunately he was out of office – hence this letter.
PC Forth, on my thanking him again, for his most professional and kind action, said his own mother in Ottawa Canada was also stopped for an expired tag.
The police officer gave her a similar option and this probably influenced his decision.
Good acts create other good acts.
I have repeated my story many times as I feel this officer has done much for public relations of the force. I sincerely hope that others will copy his example.