Hello, I was driving a hire car in Sheffield on 15/04/15 this year and have received an NIP indicating I was clocked doing 35 mph in a 30 mph zone. Although I am a careful driver and unaware of speeding at this time, this offence is entirely possible as the car was unfamiliar and I was also trying to navigate a new city. My difficulty is that the NIP is dated 17/07/15, or more than 3 months after the offence was committed and I believe there is a possibility of challenging its applicability. My understanding is that for this document to be valid, I should have received the NIP within 14 days. I fully accept that the South Yorkshire police may have had some extra work to find my details from the hire company, but I find it unreasonable that such an excessive period of time has passed since the offence and it is in my view unreasonable to prosecute me given my precise memory of the offence to be at best sketchy. Can you please advise if I can successfully challenge the NIP on the basis of an unreasonable time lapse from the date of the alleged offence to the NIP being serviced. Yours faithfully, Allen
PS I am based in Belfast Northern Ireland, which does add a small extra layer of complexity for the Police to track me down, but I still think 3 months plus, is unreasonable.
Hello Alex, I have no idea, I will try sand find out, but I don't think I'll have much luck given the admin structure in these types of companies.
I will try to find out and revert to you.
It does seem strange that the rule does not extend to a further 14 days from the police receiving a response from the hire company. I doubt they sat on the NIP for very long as the police are all over that like a rash these days.
So, just to confirm, there is no provision for such a long period from the offence to the receipt of an NIP by the hire car driver - 3 months is surely just ridiculous in the context of what the law seems to intend. Why does the law deal with a hire car driver in a different manner.
My final question for now is, as I am based in Northern Ireland, how applicable and enforceable is this NIP upon my NI licence, given that the offence took place in England. Our licencing agencies are being combined, but operate quite differently.
I will revert to you before close of business today.
Okay Alex, so I have the detail from the hire company - they were quite efficient and helpful actually.
It seems that the hire company logged receipt of the original NIP to themselves on the 14/07/15 (very recently and almost 3 months after the offence) and responded with my details that same day. Strangely, the Police who had taken 3 months to process the initial NIP to them then only took 3 days to send a new NIP to me - dated the 17/7/2015.
The hire company advised me that the relevant date is that on which the NIP was issued to me and not the date of the alleged offence and that in their view the previous correspondence/NIP to them was irrelevant, but agreed it was an inordinately long time between the incident ad the police issuing the first NIP.
They advised that I call South Yorkshire police and discuss the case, which I did, but there is no capacity on this answer service line to discuss anything to do with camera cases - only those where an officer was involved. This info line advises that I must request a copy of the photo or any more information in writing.
So, as the hire company seem to be indicating that as I personally received this NIP within 14 days of the police learning of my direct contact details, then it may actually be valid, even though they were so very slow in sending the initial NIP. Is this correct?
If it is correct, then what what should I do now? I have to complete the NIP and return it today (or at latest by 31/7) and would like to include a letter of appeal that the NIP was really received very late in the day, so it is hard to remember events precisely (as I thought I was driving within the legal limits) and that it was a very marginal speeding offence on a clean licence in a strange car and city with no intention to drive dangerously.
What do you think? Will that achieve anything, or will it make things worse?
Will do. That might make them think its not worth the admin time at least for a marginal case. Here's hoping.
I appreciate your guidance and will now place myself in the hands of the Police Gods.