Could Spexhall automatic number plate speed camera pilot be rolled out further in Suffolk?

PUBLISHED: 17:26 22 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:40 23 July 2018

If successful, the pilot could be rolled out further to replace volunteers with handheld speed guns Picture: ARCHANT

If successful, the pilot could be rolled out further to replace volunteers with handheld speed guns Picture: ARCHANT

A panel holding Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner to account have urged him to pursue plans to widen a scheme featuring new speed cameras with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR).

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSuffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

ANPR cameras are triggered by a speeding vehicle, and records the registration number, time, date and speed of an offending vehicle.

Warning letters are then sent automatically to the address that vehicle is registered to.

A three month trial of the new kit began on April 2 in Spexhall, near Halesworth, organised by police, county council and Spexhall Parish Council.

The trial, which had to be suspended for four weeks when some equipment was stolen, is due to finish this week, after which results from the pilot will be assessed.

In a report published for the Suffolk police and crime panel in Lowestoft on Friday, early findings said an average of 36 letters per week were being sent out, and said that the average speed had reduced by 2mph.

Vehicles travelling 35mph or more have dropped by a third.

It is hoped the scheme could be rolled out further in time and replace the community speedwatch volunteers who stand by the roadside with handheld speed guns.

The promising findings have led the panel to recommend pursuing it further, with more parishes in the county understood to be interested, but police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said the police did not currently have any resources to commit further to it.

“If that was seen to be a successful scheme then it’s having the capacity to process the data and the constabulary haven’t got the capacity to do that,” he said.

“If parishes invest in this equipment maybe there could be a way for them to pay for the resources.

“The constabulary definitely isn’t assuming we don’t want to do it, we do think it’s a good idea.”

The findings are set to be analysed and presented to the roadsafe board in September.

John Field, Suffolk county councillor for Gipping Valley on the panel said: “This paper suggests it is clearly effective but I get the feeling it’s being kicked in the long grass.

“The impression I am getting is it is going to be a hell of a long time before we get a decision.”

Mr Field said the problem was a small number of people regularly speeding, and added: “This gives us the opportunity to identify those few people and I cannot see how you cannot prosecute with this sort of thing.

“I am desperately keen that this thing which is clearly effective goes ahead.”

The panel put forward a recommendation that the PCC pursues plans to roll it out further subject to the final findings indicating the pilot was successful.

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