A POLICE Scotland patrol car has been caught on camera racing to an emergency in the pitch dark – with no headlights on.
The footage shows a white police vehicle speeding across a roundabout in Aberdeen with only its blue lights flashing.
The approaching motorist who filmed the police car on a dashcam is forced to hit the brakes and halt in the middle of the road to avoid hitting the side of the emergency vehicle.
The footage, captured shortly after midnight on January 16, was obtained by website Scotland’s Worst Drivers.
The incident happened in the city’s Riverside Drive, just off Great Southern Road.
The driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “This is shocking to see from a police officer.
“What concerns me the most is how long was he driving with no lights.
“His blue flashing lights were on but not a single light on, no headlights or anything.
“As you will see from the video I nearly go into the side of the police car.”
Road safety organisations have condemned the police for not leading by example.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists said: “It’s disappointing to see a police car being driven in this way but at least it had its blue lights showing which the other driver should have been able to see clearly from a good distance away.
“Police cars do get involved in a large number of incidents every year but they are used in a completely different way to any other vehicle on the road.
“On balance most people would rather the police came to their aid as swiftly as possible but next time I hope they remember to switch their lights on right away.”
A spokesman for Scotland’s Worst Drivers said: “Driving without your headlights on is at the very least a £50 fine, but it can be classed as driving without due care and attention – which carries between 3 and 9 points, and a fine of up to £2500.
“It’s possible that this driver forgot that their car does not have automatic headlights, as this is an older Ford Focus Estate.
“Drivers need to stop relying so much on automation and manually put their lights on.”
In 2011, statistics showed that Lothian and Borders police smashed 52 cars within 12 months while out attending 999 calls.
High speed pursuits accounted for 11 of the crashes, while there were 13 instances of officers colliding with another vehicle.
On nine occasions the police cars hit a stationary object, while a further 14 crashes were police officers were deemed not to be at fault.
In November last year, 57-year-old Mary Laurie from Easterhouse, Glasgow died on the way home from her son’s wedding reception after a car being chased by police collided with her taxi.
And back in 1997, 18-year-old Campbell McClure from Irvine Ayrshire died after being knocked down by a marked police car only yards from his home.
Police said today that they will be investigating the video.
A spokesman for the Police Scotland said they had “not previously been aware of this incident and there have been no formal complaints from the public. Officers will now look into the matter and establish the circumstances”.