NI 72 - Traffic police? They've all been replaced by speed cameras, admits Britain's top road policeman

Post date: 06-Feb-2020 18:11:50

  • Some forces do not have a single officer who has handed out a speeding ticket

  • 97% of drivers caught are spotted by cameras, CC Anthony Bangham revealed

  • Some place saw all speeding fines in 2017/18 from cameras rather than officers

Cameras have largely replaced traffic officers in catching speeding drivers, the country's road policing chief said yesterday.

Some forces do not have a single officer who has handed out a speeding ticket and 97 per cent of drivers caught are spotted by cameras, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham revealed.

In some areas – including Avon and Somerset, Bedfordshire, Greater Manchester, Northamptonshire and South Wales – 100 per cent of speeding fines handed out in 2017/18 were from cameras rather than officers.

Mr Bangham, the West Mercia Police chief, told the Police Federation Roads Policing Conference the development had made roads less safe.

He said: 'We are increasing enforcement but it isn't us – it's cameras, not cops. This is 97 per cent through automation, a mix of mobile and static cameras.

'It is not police officers going out there intelligently using their powers. Some forces haven't issued a single speeding ticket from a police officer – it is always cameras.'

He added: 'When cameras were introduced there was a lot of literature to say it should never be seen as a replacement for police officers, but it has.

'We have got to get back now that right balance because of course there are many other things that speeding motorists, if we engage with them… we might find that a camera would never find.'

The over-reliance on cameras meant speeding motorists who might be guilty of other offences were getting away with it. It could be they are speeding but they also may not be wearing a seatbelt, they might be over the drink or drug-driving limit and therefore a police officer can do something that a camera can never do,' said Mr Bangham.

'It makes our roads less safe – we need to acknowledge that police officers enforcing the fatal four offences [speeding, drink-driving, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile at the wheel] will make our roads safer.'

Mr Bangham cited analysis by Liverpool John Moores University for the RAC Foundation that showed 100 per cent of motorists caught speeding by five police forces in 2017 were detected by cameras alone.

In another nine forces, 99 per cent of motorists fined in that period for speeding had been caught by cameras.

The proportion of speeding motorists captured by cameras ranged from 82 to 100 per cent in different forces, the report found.

It showed 2.2million speeding offences were detected in England and Wales in 2017/18, 32 per cent more than in 2011/12.Some forces saw a 400 per cent rise in the number caught over that period due to more cameras being installed.

At the same time, traffic officer numbers across England and Wales fell from 3,472 in 2012 to 2,643 in 2017.

Source: Daily Mail Motoring

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