When the Atlanta police recently discovered that a driver, who was otherwise calm and cooperative was "over the alcohol limit" after a long and largely fruitless conversation (during which he failed a breath test) they suddenly, and without warning, attempted to put him in handcuffs? Why?
Presumably they had the suspect's address from his driving licence, the vehicle registration details etc i.e. all the information necessary to charge him with drink driving. (He was not actually driving - he was asleep in the car, albeit inconveniently parked.)
It was at the moment when, for reasons best known to them, they attempted to apply handcuffs that the trouble started.
Had they simply said:
"I'm afraid sir, you are in no state to drive, which means we shall have to charge you with being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle, and will also have to impound your car. We shall be affixing a wheel clamp, which you can sometime tomorrow apply at the police station (address on this leaflet), to have removed at the cost of £150. Your failure to do that within 14 days will mean that the car will be sold by public auction and you will be sent the proceeds, less expenses. You will be receiving notice of intended prosecution at the address on the licence within the next 14 days. Your failure to respond to that will occasion a warrant for your arrest being sought."
"Good night sir".*
both they and the motorist might have gone on their way living to enjoy another day.
Why was it deemed necessary physically to restrain the man?
- This example is not meant to be a precise indication of what might happen in the UK, as has been assumed by some people. It is simply my suggestion of what would, in my view, have been a more adult way for the police to have handled what appears to have been a less serious case of "drunk in charge".