Police forces using mobile speed cameras to catch other offences

A mobile speed camera van on the A1058 coast road near Tynemouth.

Police forces have been using mobile speed cameras to target other offences such as mobile phone usage or not wearing seatbelts.

The findings come from research conducted via Freedom of Information requests to police forces, and it's discovered that many of them use mobile speed cameras to target other offences. Requests were made by motoring organisation IAM Roadsmart to all 44 forces in the UK, and found 16 of them regularly target seatbelt and mobile phone offences with the mobile speeding stations.

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Those 16 forces regularly target rule-breakers, while a further four forces use this power 'occasionally'. The 16 areas, including Kent, North Yorkshire, Hampshire and Suffolk, caught over 8,000 drivers who were not wearing their seatbelts in 2016.

A further 1,000 motorists were caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

Of the forces that don't use mobile cameras to prosecute other offences, some cited reservations over image quality. The forces were uncertain the cameras would have a high enough resolution for successful prosecution.

IAM Roadsmart chief executive, Sarah Sillars, said of the figures: "Drivers should be reassured that the police are using all the tools in their road safety toolkit to address their top worries. If drivers don't know about this added enforcement technique then its impact will be reduced so the police should have no hesitation in publicising its use."

But she admitted that the formula needed some fine-tuning, adding: "What we need are clear and consistent guidelines on what the cameras are being used for, what training staff are being given and how the images are being used as evidence."

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