Speed Enforcement

What speed enforcement thresholds do you apply?

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has issued national guidelines on speed enforcement thresholds. These recommend that, other than in exceptional circumstances, action is not taken against drivers unless their speed is at least 10% plus 2mph above the relevant speed limit. So, as an example, speed enforcement in a 30mph zone will commence at 35mph. This is the level at which action is recommended to commence, not the speed to be exceeded. The Safer Roads Partnership, Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police apply the NPCC guidelines.

Who decides where enforcement will be carried out and how?

The bulk of the Partnership’s enforcement operations is carried out at core sites selected under criteria concerning collisions, speeds and other relevant practical features. Selection arrangements have developed over the past few years, but the consistent general principle for safety camera enforcement is that there must have been collisions where people have been killed or injured, coupled with high level abuse of the local speed limit.

The Partnership’s analyst/data manager is continuously studying the collisions record in discussion with the five highway authorities, identifying sites which are the highest priorities in terms of collisions connected to speed limit abuse. Where it is agreed that safety camera enforcement is appropriate, after full investigation this is proposed to the local Partnership Board who then decide whether to grant approval.

All sites and routes are selected in accordance with local selection criteria which primarily focuses upon the number of collisions which have occurred and the extent of speed limit abuse.

What rules and guidelines do you have to follow?

First and foremost, enforcement has to be carried out in accordance with all the various statutory requirements and evidential points to be proved in the event of a Court hearing. Equipment must be operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, taking account of guidelines in the Code of Practice for Operational Use of Road Policing Enforcement Technology issued by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

In addition, although there is no legal requirement for this and it has no direct relevance to action taken against individuals for alleged offences, there are principles under which the local Partnership Board wishes enforcement to be carried out and which the Partnership will use its best efforts to apply. These particularly relate to the selection of sites and routes where enforcement is carried out and the visibility/conspicuity of enforcement operations. But it is very important to understand that these are not legal requirements and do not add new additional points to be proved in the processing of offences or in the event of Court proceedings.

Full details of these principles can be found within the Partnership’s Protocols published under Publications on this website. As the Protocols make clear, failures – or allegations of failure – in applying those principles do not provide mitigation of nor defences to offences which are detected during the Partnership’s enforcement operations.

Speeding isn't a really dangerous matter or serious offence so why is so much attention being given to it?

It’s understandable why, from a driver’s perspective, travelling faster than we should might not seem to be particularly dangerous or serious; but most of us think differently when we’re outside the car watching other traffic go by. It’s interesting to note that the Department for Transport’s (DfT) ‘Think! Road Safety’ website tells us that a pedestrian struck at 35mph rather than 30 mph is twice as likely to die from injuries suffered.

The House of Commons Transport Committee has considered this issue on several occasions during recent years. Their October 2004 report covering a study of traffic and its enforcement says: “…. drivers who receive automatic penalties for speeding have not committed a minor transgression but have significantly exceeded the speed limit. For example, the enforcement threshold means they will have been travelling at least 35mph in a 30mph zone. This difference is not trivial; it means the difference between life and death for many of those involved in collisions.”

In their report ‘Roads Policing and Technology; Getting the right balance’ published October 2006, the Committee said: “Even driving a few miles per hour over the speed limit makes a big difference in a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist: the chances of survival halve between collisions at 30mph and 35mph.”

Speeding tickets and speed awareness courses

Can I attend a speed awareness course instead of taking the penalty points and paying the fixed penalty?

West Mercia Police introduced a speed awareness scheme on 1 May 2009. The speed awareness courses are offered to certain drivers as an alternative to the fixed penalty process and are delivered by The TTC Group, national specialists in driver education. The schemes applies to offences from 1 May 2009.

Drivers facing certain speeding offences are now given the option of attending a speed awareness course at a cost of £85 with the benefit that they will not receive three points on their licence.

The option of attending a course is given to drivers who have not attended a speed awareness course in the last three years (from the date of the offence) and who have broken the speed limit by no more than 10% plus 9 mph. This came into effect from 1 March 2011. Prior to this date the threshold was 10% plus 6 mph. If a driver is eligible, a leaflet will be posted to them explaining how the course works along with the fixed penalty notice giving them the option of taking the course. Notices on green paper will indicate that a driver is eligible for a speed awareness course.

The courses are half-day courses (around 4 hours) and are held in training centres across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin.

I didn't receive the notice within 14 days of the incident. Why is this and what can I do about it?

Initial notices are served on the registered keeper at the registered address with 14 days of the incident. If that was not done it could be a good defence. However, when this question is asked it usually transpires that such a notice was served in a way which satisfies the legal requirements, and that subsequent notices were later served on nominated drivers; that is standard and proper procedure. The 14 day service period can also be set aside if the recipient has taken some actions which prevented its service. If a registered keeper changes address but doesn’t inform DVLA, service is good if the notice was served at the last known address.

How can I contact the Camera Ticket Office?

You can contact the Camera Ticket Office in a number of ways, as listed below. Preferred method of contact is through email communication.

Email: CTOWestmercia@westmercia.pnn.police.uk

Write to: Camera Ticket Office, PO Box 25, Droitwich, WR9 8UF

Call: 01905 827319 (10am-3pm Monday to Friday).

Any submission of mitigating circumstances must be done in writing to the above email or postal address, not by telephone. 

I don't believe I was speeding, how do I challenge this?

You are fully entitled to request a Court hearing and challenge the evidence before the Court. But you should expect evidence produced by a correctly used Home Office Approved device to be accepted by a Court unless there is clear evidence that the particular device used at that particular time was not reliable. Evidence of a general nature produced from such unprovable sources as newspaper or magazine articles is not admissible as evidence before a Court, and will normally be excluded.

The best course of action is to take independent qualified specialist legal advice.

How long will the penalty points on my licence remain valid?

For ‘totting-up’ purposes on your licence, penalty points are effective for 3 years from the date of the offence. On application and payment of a fee, DVLA will issue a replacement driving licence without the points after a further year has passed.

I didn't know I was speeding because my speedometer is inaccurate

This is understandable but it is not a defence to a speeding charge and is unlikely to be accepted as mitigation. It is common for speedometers to read a little fast. All users of vehicles are under a duty to ensure the speedometer is in good working order. Additionally, whilst Type Approval Regulations do allow some flexibility for speedometers to read a little fast, no degree of under-reading at all is permitted. So if you think your speedometer may be indicating a slower than actual speed, it is important to have this checked out with your main dealer without delay – for safety’s sake but also to avoid added risk of proceedings for a further offence of defective speedometer.

I was speeding, but there were good reasons for it that I want taken into account. What can I do?

You are at liberty to write the Camera Ticket Office to explain any relevant circumstances which you feel should be taken into account. However, it is important to understand that payment is rarely excused, and only in the most exceptional circumstances. If payment is not excused you are entitled to request a Court hearing where that information can be considered by the Magistrates. But bear in mind that the Magistrates have power to apply a different fine to the fixed penalty, and may also add costs.

I don't know who the driver was but I want to get this dealt with and will sign to say it was me, is that OK?

You must not do that under any circumstances. If you genuinely do not know who the driver was you should write to the West Mercia Police Camera Ticket Office at PO Box 25, Droitwich, WR9 8UF and give a full explanation of why that is so. Anyone who signs to accept responsibility for being the driver when they know they were not is at risk of proceedings for attempting or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, very serious offences often punished by imprisonment.

I don't believe that I was speeding. What further information can I have?

The basic principle of the conditional offer of fixed penalty procedure is to give drivers a choice to have the matter dealt with in a relatively quick and straightforward way if they are willing to accept the basic evidence provided in the notices. If that evidence and the conditional offer are not accepted, the matter reverts to the conventional arrangements for a Court hearing.

As outlined above, formal disclosure of evidential material is reserved for cases where a Court hearing has been requested and a ‘not guilty’ plea entered. Evidential information and material is not provided to help make a decision as to whether or not to accept a conditional offer of fixed penalty.

I was driving, but aren't my human rights infringed by being required to give that information?

This is a statutory duty under section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which is subject to limited exceptions. For full details you are advised to refer to the legislation and/or seek independent qualified specialist legal advice.

I've received a notice of intended prosecution for a safety camera offence. What do I have to do now?

The purpose of the notice of intended prosecution is to make you aware of the incident in good time and give you opportunity to consider the matter and, if necessary, prepare a defence.

What the notices also include is an entirely separate statutory requirement on behalf of the Chief Constable for a vehicle’s registered keeper, or any other person to whom the notice is sent, to provide information which will assist identification of the driver. This is a statutory duty; to be accepted the reply is required to be within prescribed timescales and in the form in which it was requested, including signature. It is very important that you reply to that requirement as soon as you can, even if you want to give a bit more time to thinking the speed allegation through. If you don’t reply to that requirement in the way and time requested, any issues regarding the speed allegation will be no longer relevant and you are at risk of proceedings for an offence of failing to supply the information.

Can I appeal against the notice?

Conditional offers of fixed penalty are a statutory procedure with no prescribed administrative system for appeals. What you are entitled to do is decline to accept the notice and request a hearing before a Court, when the evidence can be challenged and tested. You are free to write to the Camera Ticket Office to express any mitigation or possible defences which you feel should be taken into account, but it is important to understand that payment is rarely excused, and only in the most exceptional circumstances.

What happens if I don't reply to the notices?

These things don’t go away if ignored, and failures to respond will be followed up by further correspondence and Police enquiries. Where there is no reply to a notice, enquires will be made to confirm the address and a summons will be served. In this area we have a dedicated enquiry team of Police Constables and Police staff who look into cases where there are difficulties with identification of a driver. There are national reciprocal arrangements for other Police Forces and Safer Roads to carry out enquiries referred to them from elsewhere.

My old address is on my driving licence. What should I do?

Return your licence and payment as normal but please include a letter explaining that you have moved and what address the licence needs to be sent back to. When this is returned to you we will include a form that you will need to complete and send to DVLA in order to obtain a new licence with the correct address on.

Who will I be dealing with?

Individual offences are not dealt within the Safer Roads Partnership offices but by West Mercia Constabulary’s Camera Ticket Office at the PO Box 25 Droitwich WR9 8UF address given in the notices. It is very important that any correspondence on the matter is conducted directly with them. It is important for this office not to become involved in discussions with individuals over their cases, so please do not use this website’s ‘contact us’ facility if you want help or information connected to a current case.

I've been informed that action is being taken against me for failing to supply information under section 172 of the road traffic act 1988. Why is this?

The Police routinely take action against people who do not supply the requested information in the specified way and timescales, and signed. It is a defence to this charge if you did not know who the driver was and could not find out with reasonable diligence. Higher duties rest upon corporate bodies, and individuals can be charged as well as the organisation. It is common for these matters to be put before a Court in order to establish whether or not reasonable diligence has been shown; but it will be in your best interests to write to the Camera Ticket Office fully outlining in detail why you cannot supply the information and the steps you have taken. The law on this is not simple and straightforward, so the best course of action is to take independent qualified specialist legal advice.

Camera Systems & Equipment

What camera systems do you use?

A combination of fixed and mobile cameras are used across West Mercia.  We currently have 4 types of fixed cameras used to enforce speed and one type used to enforce at red lights.  The red light camera and most of our fixed cameras take pictures of the rear of the vehicle, however some are set up to take front views.

At mobile sites it is the enforcement vehicle that carries the camera unit.    We use laser technology, which can be operated either inside or outside of the vehicle and a mobile Gatso camera, both of which allow for greater flexibility at sites.

We also use average speed systems from time to time to enforce temporary speed limits in motorway roadworks.

How can you be certain that the camera's evidence is accurate & reliable?

All devices used are statutorily Home Office Approved for the purpose. This is a demanding process, first entailing extensive user operational trials on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in different Police Force and Partnership areas. If successfully completed, the submitted equipment is then subject to rigorous scientific examination by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch.

There is a requirement for all devices to be recalibrated by or on behalf of the manufacturer at least once a year. Some systems also require recalibration of the site. Devices are also recalibrated if substantial work has been carried out making this necessary. You can view our current and archived camera calibration certificates here.

Other checking arrangements vary with the type of equipment, checks being carried out daily or more frequently as appropriate. Checks are also carried out on each occasion a fixed camera is loaded or unloaded. Some devices (in particular fixed systems designated as ‘automatic operation’) have independent secondary check facilities. Others (in particular mobile systems designated as ‘attended actively operated’) confirm the opinion of a trained operator that the vehicle was exceeding the speed limit.[/toggl

How do speed cameras work?

Gatso cameras measure speed using radar technology. There is also an independent secondary check facility to confirm there has been no undue external influence upon the speed reading. This utilises marks on the road surface which are a nominal 2 metres apart, and two images are taken at half-second intervals of the rear of offending vehicles after they have passed the camera installation.

LTI 20:20 mobile devices utilise laser technology. These devices are primarily operated from within the enforcement vehicle, mounted upon a tripod. The vehicles carrying them have been converted for the purpose, with rear opening windows through which the device is operated. One of those devices is also fitted to a purpose-converted motorcycle. The system makes a continuous real-time video recording. The enforcement officer activates the equipment when a vehicle is in view which he/she is of the opinion is exceeding the speed limit; this captures the speed reading and other relevant information upon an evidential image.

Do you use any average speed enforcement systems?

Yes, average speed systems are used from time to time to enforce temporary speed limits in motorway roadworks.

How do red light cameras work?

A red light camera is only triggered if a vehicle crosses the lights at red, and not if the lights are at amber. There are two sensors on the road, one on either side of the ‘stop’ line. The camera is triggered when a vehicle passes over both sensors (and the ‘stop’ line between them) after the signals have changed to red. Two pictures are taken, which show the vehicle and the red light. The vehicle’s speed is also shown in order to indicate, together with the second picture, that an offending vehicle had not inadvertently crossed just over the line and stopped before reaching the junction’s central area, but that it had continued to travel through the junction. The images also show for how long the amber light had been displayed and the length of time for which the red light had been showing.

How many points can I have on my license before being disqualified?

It is usual for a driver to be disqualified when there are 12 points, and offences cannot be dealt with by fixed penalty if there is a risk of this. If you have up to and including 8 points on your licence before the processing of this new offence, you can forward your driving licence to the Courts’ Fixed Penalty Centre (HMCS) with your signed driver’s statement and payment. If you have more than 8 points you are at risk of being disqualified and the matter will have to be dealt with by Court hearing.

If you have passed your first driving test in the last 2 years and accrue 6 penalty points, DVLA will revoke your full licence and replace it with a provisional. You will then have to re-take your driving test.

Safer Roads Partnership

Why are you doing this?

The aim of the Safer Roads Partnership is to reduce collisions and casualties and make the roads safer for all users by working in partnership with other organisations. There are many issues underlying the local and national problem of road collisions, and the various agencies are involved in a wide ranging package of measures to help prevent and reduce collisions and casualties including enforcement, education, training and awareness raising publicity campaigns. There is a general view that best long-term benefits will be achieved by changing the way we think about driving and the decisions we make when behind the wheel. Education and training are highly important, but enforcement also has a valuable role to play in reinforcing those messages. There is a direct link between speeds travelled at and both the risk of a collision occurring and its consequences, which together can be reduced by bringing speeds down to more appropriate levels and keeping them there. The intention is to reduce the risk of collisions occurring in the first place, and also to reduce the severity of those which do occur.

Where does the money go?

All fines and fixed penalties paid into the Courts are transferred immediately and in their entirety to Central Government.

Are you a commercial organisation, and do you get paid by results?

The Safer Roads Partnership is part of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police and works in partnership with a number of public sector agencies with the aim of reducing casualties and making the roads safer. There is no payment by results. All speeding fines go to the Treasury. Core staff working in the Partnership’s operational team and Camera Ticket Office are employed by West Mercia Police.

I don't know who the driver was. What should I do now?

If you genuinely do not know and cannot find out who was driving, it is in your best interests to write to the Camera Ticket Office giving a full detailed outline of why you cannot give the information and what you have done to try to find out. It is normal for such matters to be put before a Court for trial and, in general terms, you would have to satisfy the Court that you had acted with reasonable diligence. There are higher expectations of and duties upon corporate bodies.

I don't believe that the rules and guidelines for your scheme were being followed in my case. What can I do about this?

A Partnership’s failure to observe its rules and guidelines is not a defence to nor mitigation for an alleged offence. If you have good reason to believe there is a problem, the best thing to do in the first instance is to contact the local Partnership/Project Manager, who may not be aware of the problem, or may be aware and have taken some action to resolve it.

What is the partnership and and what are it's aims?

The Safer Roads Partnership is part of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police and works in partnership with a number of partner agencies to reduce casualties and make the roads safer for all users in Warwickshire and West Mercia (Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire) through targeted communication, education and training together with enforcement.

Community Concern Programme

I'm concerned about speeds in my local area and would like to request a speed camera van, what do I have to do?

Requests for speed enforcement are dealt with through the community concern site programme. If you are worried about the speeds of vehicles travelling in your community the first step is to raise it with your Parish Council, at a PACT meeting or through your Local Policing Team. It will then be possible for a formal request to be made to us which shows the level of community concern.

What is a community concern site?

A community concern site is one which has been introduced in direct response to concerns raised from local residents about the number of speeding drivers and the danger they pose to the community. Provided that speed data shows that there is an enforceable speed problem, the Safer Roads Partnership will work with its partner agencies to assess requests for speed enforcement from local people as part of the community concern site programme. Individuals who are concerned about speeds in their area should raise the issue through their local Parish Council, PACT meeting or Local Policing Team.

I'm a Parish councillor and have received a request for action to be taken regarding speeding on my local road. What do I do?

If a Parish Council receives a request for speed enforcement or other action to improve road safety, the Councillors are advised to make a formal request to the Safer Roads Partnership. The best way to do this is to discuss the issue at a Parish Council meeting to gauge the level of concern from the local community. Providing that the Parish Council can demonstrate a high level of community concern then they can approach the Safer Roads Partnership so that the request can be considered as part of the community concern programme. A copy of minutes showing the discussions and level of concern should also be forwarded if possible.

Requests can be made in writing to the Safer Roads Partnership, PO Box 446, Worcester, WR2 4YR or via email at info@srpwestmercia.org.uk

What is a dynamic enforcement site? How does it differ from a community concern site?

A dynamic enforcement site is a speed enforcement site operated by the Safer Roads Partnership in association with the Local Policing Team. A dynamic enforcement site is launched in response to community concern when the volume of traffic does not meet the limit set for a community concern site.