Alex Massie

Annals of Policing

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Not much gets past the Garda Siochana...

HE WAS one of Ireland’s most reckless drivers, a serial offender who crossed the country wantonly piling up dozens of speeding fines and parking tickets while somehow managing to elude the law.

So effective was his modus operandi of giving a different address each time he was caught that by June 2007 there were more than 50 separate entries under his name, Prawo Jazdy, in the Garda Pulse system. And still not a single conviction.

In the end, the vital clue to his identity lay not with Interpol or the fingerprint database but in the pages of a Polish-English dictionary. Prawo jazdy means driving licence.

In a letter dated June 17th, 2007, an officer from the Garda traffic division wrote that it had come to his attention that members inspecting Polish driving licences were noting Prawo Jazdy as the licence holder’s name.

“Prawo Jazdy is actually the Polish for driving licence and not the first and surname on the licence,” he wrote.

“Having noticed this I decided to check on Pulse and see how many members have made this mistake. It is quiet [sic] embarrassing to see that the system has created Prawo Jazdy as a person with over 50 identities.

I also like how Ruadhan Mac Cormaic ends his Irish Times piece:

Expect the recidivist Mrs Library Card from the Czech Republic to have her cover blown.

[Hat-tip: Mr Eugenides]

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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