Police forces in speeding crackdown

11.29 | 10 January 2019 | | | 12 comments

Police forces across the UK are aiming to highlight dangers of speeding as part of national enforcement campaign.

The two-week campaign (14-27 January) is being co-ordinated by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) – with a host of police forces participating.

In Norfolk, operations are already underway with police officers combining education and enforcement to portray the consequences of driving above the speed limit.

Acting inspector Julian Ditcham, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Armed Policing Team, said: “We work closely with our partners all-year round to target speeding drivers. Campaigns like this help us to enforce the law but to also educate motorists and raise awareness of the dangers of speeding.

“Speed limits are in place for a reason – the limit is set at the maximum safe speed to travel on a particular stretch of road.”

Other forces participating include Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, who are urging all motorists to ‘stay safe and keep speeds down’ as part of a joint operation.

Figures show that in last three years in Warwickshire, 73 people have been killed and 557 seriously injured in collisions where speeding or inappropriate speed has been recorded as a contributory factor.

In West Mercia, 123 people have been killed and 929 seriously injured in collisions as a result of speeding over the same period

Adrian Davis, roads policing inspector for Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, said: “Supporting this national campaign with local activities and increased enforcement is an important way of raising the issue and highlighting the dangers of speeding.

“There are many local residents in Warwickshire whose quality of life is affecting by people speeding through their community and families across the county that unfortunately know far too well the devastating consequences that speeding and collisions can lead to.”


 

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    I thought I’d made quite good point actually Mr (or Ms) Brunsdon.

    I’ve found that there is an inconsistency amongst police officers with regard to what is good or bad driving, what is ‘inappropriate speed’ (or ‘too fast to be in control’ as I like to call it) and what may be too low or too high a speed limit. Is it not better for the motoring public to make a point of complying with traffic laws in the first place, rather than hope for a subjective opinion in their favour, by those tasked with enforcement?


    Hugh Jones
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    0

    I don’t know about that, Hugh, but we might be tempted to offer you a prize for “Straw-Man Argument of the Week” as an alternative to prosecution! 🙂

    But you’re right – different police officers will of course have different opinions because they’re… different people! Thank goodness – otherwise what a dull world it would be.

    So, it remains the case that officers will always use their common-sense and experience to interpret and enforce laws in whatever way works best under given circumstances. As a simple example (to get back to the speeding question), you’ll find they’ll likely enforce speed more rigidly in, say, conditions of poor visibility or when the road is icy, and that takes us right back to the “inappropriateness” question that was discussed earlier.

    Have a chat with a few police officers when next you get a chance (you’d be welcome to come out with me, if you like!) and you can see first-hand that policing a community is somewhat more complex than simply enforcing laws and regulations by rote.


    R Brunsdon
    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
    +3

    So, just to clarify if we’re seen to be driving around impeccably safely and no threat to any other road user, but don’t have license or insurance we won’t be prosecuted, or have our vehicles seized just because the law says so?

    One officer might not treat everyone the same, but different officers are not necessarily consistent in their opinions as to what may be ‘inappropriate’ or ‘careless’ behaviour by road users. One officer’s ‘too fast!’, might be another officer’s ‘safe speed’.


    Hugh Jones
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    +1

    “Should enforcement officers be using their discretion when it’s a fixed law?”

    Absolutely.

    Laws and regulations are by their very nature imperfect and are thus nothing more than a tool that a police officer has at his disposal, to make use of if and when he feels it is appropriate, as but one means to achieve an end.

    He will not treat everyone the same. He will treat people according to their needs in order to achieve the most desirable outcome under individual circumstances.

    As a wise man once said, “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men”.


    R Brunsdon
    Agree (6) | Disagree (3)
    +3

    Interesting that if a speed limit is ‘too low’ apparently, it’s local politicians/politics at fault, overlooking the fact that ALL our speed limits and other regulations relating to motoring and highway use are ultimately made by politicians anyway, whether local or national. National speed limits, MOT and insurance requirements, legal tread depths, phone use, drink-driving etc.etc. are ultimately made by Parliament i.e. politicians. Should enforcement officers be using their discretion when it’s a fixed law? Driving without due care and ‘inappropriate speed’ etc. on the other hand is, I agree, subjective.


    Hugh Jones
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    +1

    “I see that the wording of inappropriate speed has now crept in…. Just what offence is committed. Is it a sect 3 due care and attention or a section 2 dangerous driving offence. Just what could a driver be summoned for as there is not a principal offence in statute for using inappropriate speeds.”

    Theoretically either of the above, depending on circumstances. Very difficult to prove, though, as you rightly imply.

    Not everything that is wrong is against the law, and not everything that is against the law can be proved. That’s life!


    R Brunsdon
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    0

    “… it’s just a maximum permitted (legal) speed which may be much higher than an actual ‘safe’ speed…”

    And also much lower!

    As Pat says – many speed limits are arbitrary and set purely because of local politicians/politics.

    For that reason, most of us involved in enforcement use our own judgment to determine where and when to enforce, using common sense to counter the politics and social engineering on which too much of our road regulation is based.

    “Inappropriate speed” is the correct term to use. It matters not what a sign at the side of the road says; the safe speed on a road changes day by day depending on a host of conditions such as weather, light etc. I therefore enforce (or don’t enforce!) at a threshold that reflects what is appropriate at that time and for those conditions.


    R Brunsdon
    Agree (2) | Disagree (2)
    0

    I see that the wording of inappropriate speed has now crept in. At least with one force. Just what offence is committed. Is it a sect 3 due care and attention or a section 2 dangerous driving offence. Just what could a driver be summoned for as there is not a principal offence in statute for using inappropriate speeds. If there were one then many thousands of divers would be the subject of such prosecutions.

    Of both forces mentioned I just wonder how many drivers were actually prosecuted for speed related offences and how many succeeded at court.


    R.Craven
    Agree (6) | Disagree (1)
    +5

    They’re mostly national speed limits Pat i.e. one size fits all, where the limit is a default limit, rather than the result of any safety assessment. It is a common misconception by some motorists and even the authorities it would seem, that a particular speed limit is a ‘maximum safe speed’ – it’s just a maximum permitted (legal) speed which may be much higher than an actual ‘safe’ speed, however defined.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (8) | Disagree (3)
    +5

    Agreed Hugh
    Many speed limits are set purely because of local politics/politicians, not based on a road safety risk assessment. It is simply the way things are.
    The police know this as well as anyone, so one wonders why they keep coming up with inaccurate sound bite statements?


    Pat, Wales
    Agree (14) | Disagree (1)
    +13

    “..the limit is set at the maximum safe speed to travel on a particular stretch of road”. No it definitely isn’t! If even a senior police officer believes this, we appear to have a problem.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (15) | Disagree (3)
    +12

    > Speed limits are in place for a reason – the limit is set at the maximum safe speed to travel on a particular stretch of road.

    I’d hope not.

    Because otherwise this is an admission that emergency service workers are dangerous drivers, and should be prosecuted as such.


    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (9) | Disagree (11)
    --2