Secret speed cameras: are they really the answer to slower roads?

Posted by Tim Williamson on
A motorcyclist recently discovered that a Humberside Police officer carrying out speed enforcement had disguised his presence in a tractor and a horse box!  The officer was caught out along the B1253 on the North Bank.

This "undercover" practice on rural roads has caused uproar locally.

This practice appears to run contrary to Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) guidelines that speed cameras should be clearly visible to the public.  Humberside Police maintains that this device will only target motorists travelling at over 100mph, allowing officers to depart from the ACPO guidelines.

Indeed Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner, Mathew Grove, told the Town and Parish Liaison Committee that "I would like to see cameras hidden in trees and bushes that are triggered if they [drivers] are [driving at] twice the limit. As it is they know where the cameras are. As a hobby they [drivers] drive dangerously."  The issue here is one of trust and confidence in the enforcement process. The police need motorists to support and 'buy in' to what they are trying to do, which is to improve safety.  This 'buy in' can only be achieved if motorists trust that the police are being fair and even handed.  It is much harder for the police to win the trust and confidence of motorists if they behave in such a way.

It is often argued, correctly, that speed cameras do work.  In which case why not make speed cameras highly visible and slow everyone down?

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Tim is a leading Criminal and Regulatory lawyer, who defends businesses and individuals under investigation by the police and regulatory bodies and when accused of criminal offences.

Tim Williamson
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