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 Post subject: LanCASHire U turn
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 17:52 
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http://www.lep.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx? ... eID=756344

People power forces U-turn on speed traps

Huge public pressure has forced police chiefs into a U-turn over their speed camera policies.



Lancashire's chief constable Paul Stephenson has announced plans for a review of the way motorists are punished. The moves follow a lengthy campaign by the Lancashire Evening Post against the excessive use of speed cameras which won the backing of hundreds of readers.
Authorities in the county, which has more fixed speed cameras than any other in the North of England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, will now operate a "three strikes" rule, where instead of being hit with a £60 fine and three penalty points, motorists who breach the limit only slightly will be cautioned.
A second minor breach would lead to another caution and the offender being asked to attend a speed awareness course.
Only on the third occasion would a fine and points be handed out.
Drivers caught excessively flouting the law would still be subject to the normal punishment.
Mr Stephenson made the announcement yesterday at a meeting of Lancashire Police Authority. He said this system would allow more "discretion" and added: "My post bag is filled and lots of other post bags are filled. Many motorists who have committed offences at the bottom end of the spectrum do feel they have been punished too harshly."
In 2002/3, the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership issued 128,000 speeding tickets, generating fine income of £5.91m.
Over the same period, the Partnership spent £2.935m on police costs, to the highways authority and the magistrates court service.
The surplus £2.98m is retained by central government.
But Mr Stephenson denied the speed camera campaign had been about making money.
He said: "I couldn't care less about the money, I don't want to book anyone. If everybody complied with the speed limit, I'd walk away tomorrow and we wouldn't have any of this."
Authority chairman Dr Ruth Henig, said: "The speed awareness course will do more to change people's approach to speed than anything else I have heard of." The authority accepted the chief constable's proposal.

12 March 2004
===============================

Things are looking up all round.

It's clear as crystal that they are worried - it's also clear that this sort of strategy won't save a failing policy. Confidence in the cameras has gone, and now the cameras must go too. The sooner the better.

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 Post subject: Re: LanCASHire U turn
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 21:37 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
Things are looking up all round.

It's clear as crystal that they are worried - it's also clear that this sort of strategy won't save a failing policy. Confidence in the cameras has gone, and now the cameras must go too. The sooner the better.


Couldn't agree more. It is a step in the right direction. I've always thought people should be educated about dangerous driving and not just punished with a fine, problem is a fixed speed camera isn't really qualified to judge when dangerous driving has taken place.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 22:22 
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Good news, though the "Speed Awareness" courses are a worry.

Anyone who properly studies driving will soon realise that this current obsession with speed is bad for safety. The last thing that we should be doing is sending people on courses where this false message is drummed into them.

A neighbour went on one of Lancashire's "Speed Awareness" courses about 12 months ago after he got zapped by a scamera. He says it is all about "slow down, keep to the limits and you'll be safe", with scant mention of any beneficial driver training. Also you aren't allowed to comment adversely about the teaching methods or message, or else you fail the course and get the £60 fine and points instead.

So yes, the sooner we can wind the whole scam up the better.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2004 01:41 
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Hmmm, while this U-turn of sorts is to be welcomed, from my reading of the article a "safe-speed" driver who repeatedly gets caught would still end up with punishment, even if each "offence" was actually at a speed that was safe for the conditions etc.
For instance, if it is normally perfectly safe to drive at 35mph on a particular road where the limit is officially 30mph, and a driver uses this route frequently, he/she would still have to artificially reduce his/her speed after being caught once to avoid further punishment. Or am I missing something?

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2004 01:55 
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supertramp wrote:
Hmmm, while this U-turn of sorts is to be welcomed, from my reading of the article a "safe-speed" driver who repeatedly gets caught would still end up with punishment, even if each "offence" was actually at a speed that was safe for the conditions etc.
For instance, if it is normally perfectly safe to drive at 35mph on a particular road where the limit is officially 30mph, and a driver uses this route frequently, he/she would still have to artificially reduce his/her speed after being caught once to avoid further punishment. Or am I missing something?


You're missing the massive change of tone coming from the enforcers - hardly surprising, since I know you're posting from Holland. We're seeing this as a sign of panic - a strong, but hopelessly late and inadequate response to public pressure.

For some time now they have been saying: "Crisis? what Crisis?", but finally they are facing up to the fact that speed cameras are "Crime of the Century".

(...famous last words...) :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2004 02:29 
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I don't live in Lancashire, but I go to school there, and consequently a lot of my friends have been ensnared by the cameras there. It seems a heck of a lot worse than it is in Cumbria. I can only imagine what it's like further south.

This announcement is pleasing, if only because at least someone's admitting that cameras are unpopular AND, as we all know, convicting people for doing nothing dangerous. I've heard talk that it's the 'beginning of the end', but I wouldn't like to be so hasty. Our government is very fond of its pet schemes - don't expect to see it let this one die without a fight, even if it's a fight against its own electorate. (Hunting, anyone?)

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2004 09:39 
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I'd like to see what they consider to be "breach[ing] the limit only slightly" before I get too excited about this. My guess is that they'll use the slack in the ACPO guidelines to warn more people than they do currently (ie. ACPO says prosecute at 46mph in a 40-zone - drivers doing 40 to 46 will now be cautioned, under this new policy).

I really hope that's not the case, but this subject really brings out the cynic in me.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2004 13:55 
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Carl - even if it means that now, think what it is saying for the future. It's an admission that there is something wrong with cameras, which is a definite step in the right direction, as far as I'm concerned.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 23:19 
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It's interesting to compare the press story (first message) with this official release:

http://www.safe2travel.co.uk/news/newsDetails.asp?id=42

12/03/2004

Constabulary to review speed camera policy

LANCASHIRE Constabulary is planning a review of its speed camera enforcement policy following discussion with other members of the county's road safety partnership.

Chief Constable Paul Stephenson revealed his plan for a review at today's meeting of the Lancashire Police Authority (11 March) in Blackburn. He explained he has established a small team at headquarters to look closely at all of the issues surrounding speed cameras in the county.

He said: "Speed cameras have created a great deal of interest, particularly over the way we enforce the more low level infringements detected by the equipment. The Lancashire Road Safety Partnership has achieved some key successes since its inception and our primary aim remains that of changing driver behaviour to reduce their speed and therefore the danger they create.

"Since the partnership was introduced, road traffic collisions at 47 of the safety camera sites have shown a reduction of 28.2 per cent. Research has shown that 54 per cent of motorists in Lancashire have reduced their speed and that average speed is down by 11 per cent. Now we anticipate that the 10-year target for people killed or seriously injured will be achieved ahead of schedule.

"Serious injuries have fallen by 16.11 per cent since 2001 and those seriously injured have dropped by 16.85 per cent. We remain concerned about the number of fatal accidents which have gone up by seven when compared to 2001 when the speed cameras were first introduced.

Mr Stephenson said: "The Constabulary remains committed to speed cameras and we recognise the value they have in reducing speed. Unfortunately certain aspects of the partnership's work has been occasionally misrepresented and an unbalanced picture painted but we know that the majority of people support our aims of sanctioning motorists who speed.

There is a perception that people who commit criminal offences and who, quite properly and according to guidelines, get a caution, get an easier ride than those who speed at the lower end. Whilst clearly the comparison is not a helpful one, I do nevertheless have some very real sympathy for this perception.

Any criminal justice system to be effective has to be seen to be fair. It just cannot be right when people feel that our response within that system is disproportionate.

"We recognise that there may be an opportunity, without damaging the positive outcomes we have already achieved, to soften the enforcement approach at the bottom end. There will still be enforcement but we need to be more imaginative in the way we deal with drivers who might just be over that speeding limit.

"The review will look to introduce cautioning for the bottom end range of speeding offences and look at a better trigger point for the speed awareness course that currently operates - this course has been recognised nationally as best in class.

"As well as increasing the range of disposals, i.e. cautioning through to prosecution, I have also asked the review to look much more closely at the use of interactive signage that warns drivers when they are in danger of speeding. Many people, and I have to say I am one of them, feel that this sort of device can have a very positive effect on peoples' driving behaviour, and that is, after all what we are trying to achieve. I am not interested in booking people for speeding, or raising revenue through fines. These are a means to an end and about persuading drivers not to speed.

"We will still be enforcing the law appropriately but with a better range of sanctions to bring a better balance to the system and make sure the punishment is proportionate to the offence.

"We remain resolute in our intentions to achieve, even more effectively, the very positive outcomes attained thus far. However, we are looking to do this in a way that maintains focus, but responds to widespread concerns about appropriate balance and fairness.

"Quite simply, if we can achieve the same very positive outcomes of making our roads safer, whilst at the same time demonstrating that we do listen then I for one would be delighted."

Dr Ruth Henig, chair of the police authority, said: We fully support this initiative as we believe this is paramount in continuing to produce the same sort of outcomes in terms of speed reduction and accident rates. The use of different penalties supports longer term education and promotion of road safety issues, but with less damage to public confidence and reassurance."

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 23:22 
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Seems to me like they're still very definitely sold on the idea of speed cameras..

Quote:
Our primary aim remains that of changing driver behaviour to reduce their speed and therefore the danger they create.


:| Maybe it's not the good sign I thought.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 23:54 
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I think you have to read between the lines a little.

Bear in mind that even if Paul Stephenson wants to ditch the whole can of worms and walk away from it, it is not that simple. He is hardly going to directly admit that the central core of their road policing for the last 3 years is wrong, is he?

Reading this with a large pinch of salt, I see a man who is desperately trying to regain public support. Of course it is dressed up with a load of political rhetoric about building on past "successes" etc etc, but this is as close to an admission of failure as you are ever likely to get by any man who wants to stay in his job! This is a last ditch effort to try and gain public support.

Remember that these are the same people that have been trying to convince us that 80% of the public are wholeheartedly behind their cameras!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 23:57 
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I hope you're right!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 00:16 
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I very agree with JT.

The clues to an underlying sea change are there all right. On top of that is posturing - and probably habitual posturing at that.

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