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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12067
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I am the manager and keyholders of a large complex building

Customer Question

I am the manager and keyholders of a large complex building which is 10 minutes from my home.
Last night I received a call to say that the fire alarms had gone off and there was smoke in the building.
I got in my car and between my house and my place of work, I was stopped by a police office who said I was driving 32 mph in a 30 mph area. I explained that there was a fire alarm emergency and my main worry was someone may be trapped in the building.
The officer wanted confirmation so he follwed me to my place of work. On arrival the fire had been put out (it was not a big fire) and so the officer said it was not an emergency and he was taking action against me where I would be fined and have three points on my licence.
I feel this is most unreasonable - how was I to know how serious the fire was? It was all very well for him to assess the situation after the event. What would have happened if it had been a more serious fire and someone had been trapped in the building?
Could you please give me an opinion?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
I think you should contest it, not so much on the circumstances, which would only be for mitigation, but on the merits. I very much doubt that the authorities would prosecute at 2mph above the speed limit. There is generally a tolerance whereby they won't as a matter of policy take further action.
I would also complain about the officer insisting on following you to your place of work and then saying there was no emergency. Any key holder involving a fire alarm is treated as an emergency. He was not following the spirit of events and I doubt hi superiors will be impressed with the way he handled the whole episode.
I hope that helps.
Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.