Reckless, rebellious, law-breaker… These aren’t the kinds of words we’d typically use to describe Her Majesty The Queen. Astoundingly, however, the police revealed that they recently received a 999 call from a member of the public reporting that the Queen had broken the law!
The West Yorkshire Police admitted that they had recieved a report from a member of the public that Her Majesty was not wearing a seatbelt as she travelled to the State Opening of Parliament. An astonished police force tweeted, “999 call received reporting that the Queen isn’t wearing a seatbelt #not999 #notevenwestyorkshire.”
“I cannot stress enough that the 999 number is for emergencies only,” West Yorkshire Police’s Tom Donohoe commented. “For guidance, this is defined as when there is likely to be a danger to life, use or immediate threat of violence, serious injury to a person or serious damage to property.”
The unprecedented call to 999 was not only not an emergency, but it was also unneccesary. In the same way that the Queen doesn’t have a possport, or need a driving licence to get behind the wheel of a car on her own property, she also cannot be prosecuted for not wearing a seatbelt – especially as it doesn’t seem there way one fitted in her vehicle for the event anyway.
A statement on the British Monarchy website reads: “The Queen is careful
to ensure that all her activities in her personal capacity are carried
out in strict accordance with the law.” However, in all but a few cases,
it is, in fact, a criminal offence not to wear a seat belt if one is
fitted. You might be surprised to learn that you could be fined
up to £500 for not wearing a seat belt. Luckily for her, though, the
Queen is immune from civil and criminal proceedings under UK law, so
cannot be prosecuted.
The police, who receive more than a thousand 999 calls each day, have
previously released audio recordings of some of the more inappropriate
calls they have had to deal with: one caller had a friend who was locked
in a toilet, whilst another sought advice on coping with a fly in their
bedroom. One person even called 999 to ask for the non-emergency police
number! Whilst it might sound funny, each minute spent dealing with an
inappropriate 999 call is a minute which can’t be spent dealing with a
genuine emergency – and in such situations, as Donohoe points out, every
minute really does count.