In January 2007 the Department for Transport issued guidelines for how and when speed cameras should be used, a large part of these guidelines discussed how visible the cameras should be. At the time of issue the guidelines stated that prior to fixed speed cameras there should be signs warning drivers that speed cameras were ahead and the cameras themselves should be painted bright yellow to stand out.
It was also advised that temporary speed cameras (usually a cameraman in a vehicle on the side of the road) should also be clearly visible and identifiable as enforcement vehicles.
It is now however, being suggested that the Police have been advised to no longer follow these guidelines and can place speed enforcement devices wherever they wish. With people even claiming to have witnessed Police Officers sat in tractors on the side of country roads.
This rumour seems to have divided the Nation’s Newspapers. The Sun has recently started a campaign in protest of this, calling for the Government and Police to reinstate these guidelines immediately, believing that it is disgraceful that the police have resorted to such underhand tactics.
The Guardian on the other hand have taken the complete opposite stance and think that the Sun’s campaign is encouraging dangerous behaviour. They liken the act of warning people that speed cameras are ahead to giving young people a few hours warning before Police carry out searches for knives.
So who is right?
Both sides do raise some good arguments, by warning people they are about to be recorded committing an offence it gives them the chance to correct their action and slow down, making them drive at the road’s speed limit. However by doing this it is stopping people who drive in excess of the speed from being punished for what they have done. If all speed cameras were hidden then it would likely cause people who drive at excess speed to be caught and punished for the offences, hopefully changing their driving behaviour in the future.
Is it wrong to warn people ahead of time that they are about to be recorded committing an offence when they already know that they are driving in excess of the speed limit? Or should they be given time to actually correct their driving behaviour prior to being caught in the act?
If the Police truly are doing this then it certainly adds weight to the argument that speed traps are just a way to generate extra revenue, but is this truly a bad thing? Drivers who are charged with speeding offences and pay their fines inject a large amount of money into the criminal justice system, which is beneficial to the Country.
Unfortunately, as with most topics of public debate, we do not know who is right in this case, both Papers put forward strong arguments. What we do know is that if people are charged with speeding offences we can offer them free legal advice about it. You can get more information about how we can assist you with speeding offences by clicking here or simply get in touch by using one of the links below.
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