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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 22:22 
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Hi there. I have posted this topic on peppipoo, and received some useful advice, but we ended up in a particular area of discussion. The problem is that the case raises a number of entirely separate issues, and I wanted to see if anyone here had a view which might shed additional light.

I'll do my best not to test anyone's patience by keeping it as succinct as I possibly can.

I received a NIP for 38 in a 30, see accompanying photos. They raise a number of issues which we'll get to when I've described the sequence of events. I was offered the option of attending a DA course. Unfortunately, being unemployed, I was unable to find the money and asked if there were concessions, or if I could pay by installments. The answer was no. It seemed to me that was an unsatisfactory response, since the clear implication was that those who could afford it were able to avoid prosecution in a criminal matter. As a result, I lodged an official complaint with the police on the grounds that the DA scheme contravened their own code of practice regarding equality. That complaint is ongoing. Meanwhile, since I was unable to take up my place on the course, I should have been sent a Conditional Offer: I have a letter from the DAS concerned saying that would be the next course of action. In fact, the next document I received was a summons. So my first question is, does the fact that no conditional offer was made after the offer of a place on the course was withdrawn, contrary to the information provided in writing, give any sort of procedural defence?

Turning to the images. The Laser pro 3 operates using a very narrow beam. The device itself weighs over two kilos. As someone with professional experience of optical design, I'md be concerned that those parameters could make the device vulnerable to a degree of 'camera shake', especially with an operator tracking a moving target. The obvious way to test this theory would be to use the device on stationary objects to check readings. Even with a tripod, manual (non-remote) actuation could cause problems with such a narrow beam. In addition, neither image targetted a flat, non sloped surface: the part of number plate in one of the pictures is mounted at an angle greater than 90 deg to the ground. The indicator lens is a rounded surface. The exhaust and my tousers (!) all move independently relative to the speed and direction of bike travel. So my second question is, does the evidence of the images seem technically compromised? I'd also be grateful if anyone can tell me what some of the data means. Apologies for image quality, a bit restricted by 64k limit :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 23:26 
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straightsix wrote:
As a result, I lodged an official complaint with the police on the grounds that the DA scheme contravened their own code of practice regarding equality.

I do see some sort of problem with the system, but I doubt a claim of equality could fly.

straightsix wrote:
Meanwhile, since I was unable to take up my place on the course, I should have been sent a Conditional Offer: I have a letter from the DAS concerned saying that would be the next course of action. In fact, the next document I received was a summons. So my first question is, does the fact that no conditional offer was made after the offer of a place on the course was withdrawn, contrary to the information provided in writing, give any sort of procedural defence?

Given that you were offered an SAC, I would say you should not have been within any circumstance where a summons could have been warranted (no totting up, speed within second threshold). So I believe you should have been given the conditional offer.
I can recall several instances where a decline of the Speed Awareness Course (SAC) resulted with the Conditional Offer/3 points being given.

HOWEVER,

Perhaps the staff who processed your claim realised that if you really cannot afford the SAC, then you obviously also cannot afford the fees for the conditional offer (which are roughly equal) hence they logically took your inability to afford the SAC as your tacit rejection of the conditional offer.

HOWEVER AGAIN,

I'm surprised your case has been allowed to be dragged on for this long (7 months)!
Therefore, it could also be that your case was dragged on for so long that the staff decided to lay the papers to the courts, before they lose their chance to guarantee prosecution of you. I believe there is a 6 month deadline from the date of offence, for them to lay the papers. Once they have been laid, you have to deal with the courts, hence the summons.

This is mere speculation on my part, you should check it.

straightsix wrote:
Turning to the images. The Laser pro 3 operates using a very narrow beam. The device itself weighs over two kilos. As someone with professional experience of optical design, I'md be concerned that those parameters could make the device vulnerable to a degree of 'camera shake', especially with an operator tracking a moving target. The obvious way to test this theory would be to use the device on stationary objects to check readings. Even with a tripod, manual (non-remote) actuation could cause problems with such a narrow beam. In addition, neither image targetted a flat, non sloped surface: the part of number plate in one of the pictures is mounted at an angle greater than 90 deg to the ground. The indicator lens is a rounded surface. The exhaust and my tousers (!) all move independently relative to the speed and direction of bike travel. So my second question is, does the evidence of the images seem technically compromised?

Please note: I have access to these laser/lidar speed guns and have a lot of hand-on experience with them. I also have intimate knowledge of exactly how they operate having disassembled and probed them as well as measured their characteristics. I'm also quite sharp with optics and physics.

IMO: you have no room for disputing your case based on those photos alone. The video clip could help you, if one exists.

The bottom photo shows the gun aimed at a different part of the bike, but this doesn't matter as the gun takes about 0.3 seconds to do a speed measurement (according to the brochure) and this photo was taken about 2 seconds before the top one. The bottom photo is probably used for ID purposes only (getting a clear shot of characters on your registration plate)

The top photo is the one that shows the speed, this is the critical one; everything seems to be OK with it.
The registration plate is the first and by far away the most powerful reflection the gun will see, and the laser more then likely struck this surface throughout the actual speed measurement, hence the gun effectively use that as the reference target.
While it is true that the laser may have been panning across the registration plate during the 0.3 seconds of the speed reading, this will make next to no difference as that surface is not large enough to achieve enough of what is known as 'slip'. So in this particular case, that slight angle of the plate doesn't have any significant bearing.

Maths:
If the plate is say 40cm across the diagonal, and it is at a relative angle (to the gun) of 20 degrees, the largest error that can be achieved due to slip is 0.4SIN(20d) / 0.3 = 0.45m/s = 1.0mph. This is well within nominal tolerance and cannot cast any doubt the speeding offence.

straightsix wrote:
I'd also be grateful if anyone can tell me what some of the data means.

My educated guess:
Date ... time ... >> speed
location data ... operator number ... ... offence ID.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 15:49 
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Steve, thanks for that.

Purely out of academic interest, and as you seem to have knowledge of the operation of this device, has it ever been properly tested on a stationary object? That would be the soundest empirical method of establishing 'shake' propensity, on and off a tripod.

My thinking is - not that it will help me - that if a properly conducted trial demonstrated a vulnerability in that regard, then the question of targets and slippage is redundant (because the reading would be compromised at the moment of actuation). Just a thought.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 16:48 
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straightsix wrote:
Purely out of academic interest, and as you seem to have knowledge of the operation of this device, has it ever been properly tested on a stationary object? That would be the soundest empirical method of establishing 'shake' propensity, on and off a tripod.

It has been tested, but probably not by the governing authorities.
Other people around the world have access to these lidar guns, we're all able to get false speed readings from various static surfaces. My personal best is over 100mph from a road surface!

What you say is completely correct.
The MD of the UK importer of the LTI version of this lidar gun, has gone on record to say one can reasonably get slip errors (false speed readings) from a stationary surface, but this cannot happen with moving targets. Don't be fooled by this claim. I have publicly called him (Frank Garrett) a liar - repeatedly! No writ so far!
Independent testing has proven him wrong.

However, the manufacturers and distributors of these guns give advice on how to minimise the possibility of slip (regularly checking alignment, aiming at a certain surface, geometry of enforcement setup). The guns themselves have crude and not very effective processes to help detect this effect, it will reliably void the speed reading if slip is detected.

straightsix wrote:
My thinking is - not that it will help me - that if a properly conducted trial demonstrated a vulnerability in that regard, then the question of targets and slippage is redundant (because the reading would be compromised at the moment of actuation). Just a thought.

We know the circumstances of when it will happen and we can predict the worst case error; but more crucially: we know when it won't happen. I know of at least one case that has been won on based on the potential for slip (sorry, I cannot say whose), but it was not enough to cast doubt for all cases. Rightly or wrongly, this is good enough for the courts. I strongly suspect that cases generally don't make it to court if there is a chance of the prosecution failing because of these technical issues.



The best advice anyone can give you: if you know in your heart that you genuinely were speeding, then it is best to not dispute the speed reading.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 06:22 
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:welcome: straightsix

I think that you are right that there could be an equality issue, but IMHO (only) it lies within 'Contract Law' as it relates to payment ... although if the Conditional Offer must have been offered, then that is likely to be a separate legal issue.
You need to consult a good lawyer. I have passed on your question to one.

Is it possible for you to compose a positive letter of solution to them ?
For example why not send in a request (stating if not too late) to attend a course, but one that is in 6 month time, so that you can ensure payment is completed by the time you attend ? That way if it were to go to Court you have accepted (one method) but, it is just the payment issue and there is unlikely to be any Court in the Land, that would not expect a creditor to be understanding over payment when a clear plan is proposed (and valid reasons for delay) by instalments !
I am sure too that the CAB could assist in some communication to the Court over this payment (earnings/budget) help / payment plan.
Certainly the rich/poor exclusion whilst potentially valid needs the right approach to obtain the best effect. Even shaming the local Partnership / CPS into accepting is a possibility ! (Press).

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:25 
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Steve,

My son is being prosecuted by Greater Manchester Police for alleged speeding. He maintain's he wasn't and we have the photo "evidence" the unit is a Ultralyte 1000 and the cross hairs are on the radiator grille on an E46 BMW. the grille fins are 3mm wide. The speed registers 48mph in a 40mph zone. GMP state the image is ok but the manufacturer recommends targeting the license plate. I have spoken to a technician at GMP who says it very easy to maintain a target reading on a 3mm wide grille fin at 40mph ( should be in the Olympics shooting team) and there will be no slip error (she even said slip error doesn't exist!!). At 40mph the car would have moved 5.9m at 48mph 9.6m. The reading takes 0.3 sec
My son is going to take the speed awareness course.

Is the reading accurate trying to hit an intermittent target (grille) ?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 22:35 
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Whilst not directly related to your query, it is rather worrying that Greater Manchester Police do not know how to spell the unit of length known as a "metre" :roll:

mb


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:18 
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The image taken shortly, a second or 2 after the measurement.

The laser beam x-section will be about 340mm square ish at that distance so will most likely have covered your registration plate during the measurement. The technician is absolutely correct that a slip change to your speed reading is not possible in that situatIon.
To test the aiming. Take a torch out and point it at a registration plate about 30m away. Flash it on and off. How many times do you miss? Not much more difficult with a laser at 1000m when on a tripod and with a sight mounted. At 100m very very easy.
I see no potential problem from that circumstance. I'm sure you will be told otherwise though.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:39 
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GreenShed wrote:
Not much more difficult with a laser at 1000m when on a tripod and with a sight mounted.



HMM, 1000metres = .621 mile = almost 1100 yds.

Forgive me if I've got it wrong, but the stated aim of SCP is road safety, and as such should be providing a deterrent.
Some on here have seen this example , the hedgehog ( sorry safety camera van) was only about .5 mile distant. So much for visibility.

Image

The van is the white object half hidden by trees.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 14:42 
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SJK53 wrote:
My son is being prosecuted by Greater Manchester Police for alleged speeding. He maintain's he wasn't and we have the photo "evidence" the unit is a Ultralyte 1000 and the cross hairs are on the radiator grille on an E46 BMW. the grille fins are 3mm wide. The speed registers 48mph in a 40mph zone. GMP state the image is ok but the manufacturer recommends targeting the license plate. I have spoken to a technician at GMP who says it very easy to maintain a target reading on a 3mm wide grille fin at 40mph ( should be in the Olympics shooting team) and there will be no slip error (she even said slip error doesn't exist!!). At 40mph the car would have moved 5.9m at 48mph 9.6m. The reading takes 0.3 sec
My son is going to take the speed awareness course.

Is the reading accurate trying to hit an intermittent target (grille) ?
:welcome:

I have spoken to Steve, the beam spread at 100.3m will be 30cm so it will have hit the licence plate in this circumstance. The standard licence plate is 52cm wide so that will give you a good idea of the scale of the beam height, and thus if it is correctly aligned it is visually obvious that it should have hit the plate. Note that the chromed feature surrounding the grill will have been enough of a reflection to provide a reading too.

If you request the video then we can check further but you 'normally' have to plead not guilty however after viewing such video you can then change your plea to guilty (right up to a Court session).
All evidence must be disclosed 7 days prior to any Court Session/Hearing etc.

If your son is certain that he was not going over the posted limit what leads him to that conclusion ?
PM me the location if you think it helps. By checking on Google maps where the van was in relation to 'your' vehicle, will help to confirm if the distance claimed is accurate. We can then also check for any other 'bounced' readings.

NB I am not a lawyer and therefore cannot advise you and you should always seek proper legal advice.

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