Now - we do use this doo0-dah here.. but only if our lads and lasses out there form an unshakeable opinion that the driver is pushing the old envelope more than within reason - anjd they want to verify the margin
I stress that Co Durham's finest do not go around collecting cash for the government coffers. If we do prosecute.. then the driver can rest easy that he was copped for the right reasons .. and we will try to help him improve with a COAST lecture as well.
But this gadget as "camera operator" will no doubt verify with me .. has to be used properly. This means that if we do use this device - then we will choose a safe place to monitor and as someone once posted - we do have the "lop-sided submarine signs"
, a well publicised local timetable and some signs giving adequate warning of our monitoring. We cop a few OTT who apparently fail to COAST as they fail to see our signings
But use this gadget incorrectly - and you might as well not bother.
Again - I stress that Durham and North Yorks do not lurk and fire off these devices "willy nilly" on the occasions we actually use them. You have to be judged in a professional opinion to be wide of the margin of fair tolerance - and we will ensure our roads and the the road users and residents along them are both served and protected as far as we can deliver this.
But .. I know Martin
- tis the old "Waily"
but I think I should draw attention to this report for the sake of discussion and debate anyway.
The basic facts would have to be true.. despite "journalese writing styles"
In today's Waily on page 40 .. journalists Matthew Hickley and Arthur Martin report: (By the way the experts ARE peer reviewed
NEW PRESSURE TO BAN SPEED GUN AS COURT CLEARS DRIVER
The Home Office is under growing pressure to withdraw a hand held speed camera after a motorist had a fine and points quashed as "unreliable"
David Lyall refused to aaccept a ticket because he was convinced he was below the 50 mph speed limit. The magistrates agreed
after "peer reviewed experts"
said the mibile camera failed to spot a lampost which interfered with its beam.
The Lti 20 20 speed gun has been involved in a string of controversial cases quashed by the courts, yet it remains popular with police forces across the country
WHY? OK .. because the doo-dah is the recommended one to use
If used correctly - it confirms a speed - and here - we will still use a certain amount of professional judgement when making a decision on the matter. Policing, enforcing a law fairly requires common sense, together with professioanl skill and experience. Nit picking does not command respect. Realistic prosecution does.
We cannot say drive as fast or as slow as you like. We say drive at the safest speed for the condition. We may allow the odd transgression so long as we judge the driver was safe.. but we will always stress and reinforce and consolidate COAST principles just the same.
The Waily pat itself on the back a bit as it refers to some investigation its own journalists completed two years ago
I will confirm that the description of how this doo-dah works is correct
I put this in italics.
I will also re-iterate - to get an accurate reading - the device has to be used according to the manufacture's specific instruction and I cannot say the civvies employed or the village NIMBY brigade have the training required to operate this doo-dah to manufacturer specs. I do know we have specific training sessions on our patch.
A Waily investigation two years ago exposed serious glitches in the way it measures the distance to a car. meaning it can sometimes clock the wrong vehicle or become confused by scatttered laser beams by other objects. The camera works by sending out an infra-red beam By measuring the time it takes to bounce back - it tehn determines the vehicle's speed
However, the investigation at the time recorded a brick wall travelling at 44 mph and a bicycle at 66 mph.
Yesterday a motoring group called on the Home Office to ditch the LTI 20 20 claiming millions had lost licences or paid unfair fines.
In this latest case - David Lyall - a 58 year old technology developmetn manager was driving his Audi A4 from Swindon to
Highworth when police or cam op targetted him on a dual carriageway with a 50 mph limit.
He received a fixed penalty notice - accusing him of driving at 59 mph
Mr Lyall refused the penalty and battled in the courts for almost two years.
He was cleared at Devizes Magistrates' Courts when exper Dr Michael Clark - an expert on speed cameras (and possibly a good ally and source for you Paul
) reviewed the tape and concluded that Mr Lyall was wrongly convicted.
The magistrates said they were unhappy with the evidence as "a lamp post was in the way". They also questioned the speed gun's ability to detect innaccurate readings known as "error trapping"
I stress that where we use this device here.. we are aware of potential fails and we will not prosecute if we conclude a rogue reading. Our guys out there receive correct training on our "weapons". I cannot vouch for others - especially those who rely on a civilian input -given the apparent controversy backed by case law.
Dr Clark in the Waily wrote:
It was a landmark ruling. The court was unhappy with the error trapping device which did not kick in when it was supposed to. Mt Lyall was not driving above the speed limit. I believe there are thousands of motorists out there who have been wrongly caught out.
Mr Lyall in the Waily wrote:
The time has come for these speed cameras to be withdrawn and all cases involving this device reviewed
ABD member Paul Gibbs wrote:
This device should be withdrawn immediately. We are not opposed to speed enforcement, but it has to be done [i] accurately
The last thing anyone wants is for innocent drivers to be prosecuted for speeding. Alll that does is form a wedge between the police and the public
I do so agree - else it undermines COAST and justice itself as well as our relationship with our public. It is a device which requires professional training and skill. It is not a device for civilians and cheapskate practices to ensure road safety.
A spokesman for Tele Traffic - which manufactures the speed guin said the Home Office had approved it after thousands of tests.
The Home Office stated it was satisfied that that all currently type approved speed meters merit their type approved status
But only if used according to manufacturer's specification based on their tests. If used incorrectly - then the device and justice become undermined.
As almost all roads have lamp posts.. then care has to be taken when aiming the device at the vehicle we think was OTT speeding. We also know more or less if we get a rogue reading and if we do so.. then we will not prosecute on the basis this would be unsound and open to bringing us into disrepute.