POLL - More speed cameras to patrol county roads

Police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan with the mobile police vans. (S)
Police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan with the mobile police vans. (S)

A debate has been sparked by a police move to treble the number of speed cameras covering the county’s roads.

North Yorkshire is one of only two county’s nationwide which still doesn’t have fixed speed cameras, relying instead on a mobile policing van to catch offenders.

But now, after a pilot scheme helped to halve the number of speed-related deaths, North Yorkshire Police is introducing two more vans to patrol the county’s roads.

“Alongside anti-social behaviour, speeding has been the single biggest issue that residents have raised with me over the last few months,” said police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan.

“We need to make sure we respond to local community needs and reduce serious incidents on the road.”

The pilot scheme, introduced by North Yorkshire Police, has seen 26,000 motorists caught speeding in 12 months.

One driver was caught driving 72mph in a 40 zone, another was caught doing 132mph in a 70mph zone.

A third, banned for 70 days and fined £360, was caught riding his motorcycle at 104mph past a horse and rider.

Police say a total of 3,200 drivers have been offered fixed penalty notices and more than 21,000 have been offered a speed awareness course. Furthermore, said a spokesman, the number of speed-related death crashes dropped from 14 in 2010 to seven in 2011.

The issue has long been debated in the Harrogate district, with some calling for fixed speed cameras and others saying they make little difference.

“It’s actually very rare to see speeding in Harrogate town due to congestion but speed cameras are needed on some countryroads,” said one reader, Helen Bennett, on Twitter.

Driving instructor Chris Waddington said: “Education is the key. Introduce those caught speeding to a section 59 notice and watch speeds fall.”

And another reader, called Bilton115 on Twitter, said: “Drivers just ignore the speed limits anyway. I get hooted at for driving at the limit, especially through villages and 30mph zones.”

But Assistant Chief Constable Iain Spittal said the results justify the expansion.

“We have witnessed some extreme offences brought before the courts,” he said. “These motorists have been given heavy fines, lost their licences and, in some cases, their livelihoods.

“These are the lucky ones, they returned home to their families. Some, tragically and needlessly, do not.”

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