Force Policy & Procedures Speeding Offences
Reference Number D116
Policy Version Date 05 November 2014
Review Date 04 November 2015
Policy Ownership Operations Department
Portfolio Holder Assistant Chief Constable [Operations Support]
1. Policy Statement [FOIA Open]
The Principles and Scope of the Policy
This policy acknowledges the Government’s Road Safety Strategy in establishing the issues which are continuing priorities for roads policing.
The National Strategic Assessment for Roads Policing underpins the principles of this policy. The strategic priorities are:
- Reducing road casualties
- Disrupting criminality
- Countering terrorism
- Patrolling the roads to enhance public confidence
- Combating anti-social road use.
The ACPO Uniformed Operations Policing the Roads Strategy 2011-2015 provides guidance to the Police Service in respect of road safety priorities.
The Devon and Cornwall Police Policing the Roads Strategy 2013 – 2016 embraces these documents and should be read in conjunction with this policy.
Speed enforcement will be conducted in accordance with:
Speed enforcement will be carried out in accordance with working practice DF81 – Speed Enforcement.
The aim of the policy
Greater habitual compliance with existing speed limits has the potential to deliver the following benefits:
a) Reduced casualties, in terms of both numbers and severity.
b) Reduced demand upon the Health Service.
c) Reduced conflict between motor vehicles and other road users.
d) A calmer and freer flowing traffic environment.
e) Improved quality of life in local communities.
Effective speed enforcement will contribute to the following:
a) Police Service Overarching Aims and Objectives.
b) ‘Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation‘ (White Paper 1999)
c) Local Transport Plans (Integrated Transport Policy)
d) The Human Rights Act 1998
e) Department for Transport Circular 01/2013 “Setting Local Speed Limits”
f) National Roads Policing Strategic Assessment 2014-2015
g) ACPO Uniform Operations ‘Policing the Roads Strategy 2011-2015’
h) Devon and Cornwall Police ‘Policing the Roads Strategy 2013-2016’
Police interactions with road users aims to have wider benefits and the emphasis on visible roads policing is an important factor in developing improved road safety.
The wider aims of improved road safety will deliver benefits of reducing serious collisions resulting in road closures. It is recognised that working closely with other agencies will improve clear up times to promptly restore the road network to optimum functionality given the vital economic role it plays.
2. Introduction [FOIA Open]
The Devon and Cornwall Police is working together with the following traffic authorities to secure a road environment that will reduce the fear of harm to help create safer communities.
– Highways Agency
– Devon County Council
– Cornwall Council
– Council of the Isles of Scilly
– Plymouth and Torbay Unitary Councils
The focus intention is to engage with road users to fulfil a vision of a ‘safe and secure environment for all road users’. Greater emphasis is placed on enforcement based on professional discretion and judgement to increase potential enforcement interactions that result in education. The aim is to increase habitual levels of compliance with the laws and rules of the road by those who use them.
In the application of this policy staff are reminded of the need to comply with the standards and principles of the Code of Ethics for policing.
The key elements to the Police Service position (Joining Forces for Safer Roads) on speed limits are:
– Support for appropriate speed limits where they look and feel like the limit giving visiting motorists the opportunity to conform
– To have speeds at the limit chosen and achieve safe roads for all users and not high speeds with high levels of enforcement
– Self-enforcing (with reducing features) without large scale enforcement
– Achieve average speeds close to the limit imposed or with interventions that make the limit clear to visiting motorists
– Speeding problems identified in an area must have the engineering, site clarity and need re-assessed, not simply a call for more enforcement
– Inappropriate to enforce against drivers who simply misread the road.
The principles of speed enforcement
The enforcement of traffic laws by the Police should be guided by the principles of:
Proportionality in applying the law and securing compliance
Relating enforcement action to the risks
Targeting of enforcement action
Ensuring enforcement action is directed primarily at those whose behaviour poses the greatest risk often at identifiable locations or circumstances.
Consistency of approach
Taking a similar approach in similar circumstances to achieve similar ends
Transparency about what enforcement action is undertaken and why
Helping drivers to understand what is expected of them and why.
Effective partnerships with other organisations are essential to its success.
Where officers believe that an offence has been committed, in exercising their discretion on enforcement action, they must consider the nature and circumstances of the offence. Depending on those circumstances, they have a variety of options available to them, ranging from arrest, reporting for process, use of the Conditional Offer (OSCO) process, caution, warn or take no further action.
Road users expect consistency from the Police nationally, and an over reliance on automated enforcement can undermine public confidence and general support for roads policing. Successful policing emanates from legitimacy and the balance between engineering, education and enforcement is crucial.
The differing speed limits are generally related and proportionate, to the risks for to all road users using that road. Where Police Officers consider that an offence has been committed, they should consider whether it is appropriate to take enforcement action against the offender.
Enforcement guidance for Police Officers is published in the documents referred to earlier.
Other than in the most exceptional circumstances, the issue of fixed penalty notices (or use of conditional offers) and summonses are likely to be the minimum appropriate enforcement action as soon as the following speeds have been reached:
* see section 5.3
Where a vehicle is restricted by virtue of its class, e.g. PCV/LGV the prosecution will be for exceeding the speed limit for class of vehicle.
This guidance does not and cannot replace the Police Officer’s discretion in full accordance with the National Decision Model. An officer may decide to report an offender in respect of offences committed at speeds lower than those set out in the table, but this must be fully justifiable in the circumstances.
Effective speed enforcement cannot be carried out by one agency acting alone. The Police Service actively seeks to develop close working relationships with others (e.g. the DfT, Highway Authorities, Magistrates Courts, Education Authorities, Road Safety Organisations etc), to promote road safety and ensure that approaches to speed compliance which do not rely solely upon sanctions, are fully exploited.
Those routes where the Safety Camera Partnership (SCP) enforcement sites are generally signed. Signage at other enforcement sites is not required, as the high visibility of officers engaged in such roadside speed enforcement is considered sufficient.
Covert Speed Enforcement This Force does not operate a policy of routine covert speed enforcement. Please see working practice DF81 – Speed Enforcement.
2.3 Implications of the Policy [FOIA Open]
Equipment Evaluation and Purchase
New items of speed detection equipment will undergo evaluation before purchase and consultation will take place in advance with the Inspector Roads Policing (Professional Lead).
3. Procedures [FOIA Open]
3.1 Speed Enforcement Technology
Any enforcement device deployed in relation to speed enforcement must have a Home Office Type Approval and/or be ACPO approved for use in this Force if required.
Further details of the current type approved speed detection equipment can be found in the Guide For The Operational Use Of Speed And Red-Light Offence Detection Technology (December 2011). All trained officers must be familiar with the contents of this document.
3.2 Community Speedwatch
Community Speedwatch is a scheme that actively engages members of the local community in speed monitoring. This involves members of the public utilising a variety of devices, to monitor vehicle speeds. The information gathered is collated by a police volunteer who arranges, when appropriate, for letters to be sent to the registered keepers of vehicles monitored travelling at apparently excess speed.
For further guidance, refer to working practice TP04 – Speed Watch
20 MPH Limits and Zones (This whole section needs reviewing in relation to 01/2013)
The setting of speed limits, including 20mph limits and zones, and 10mph Home Zones, is the responsibility of the Local Authority. The Government has provided guidance to authorities in Department for Transport Circular 01/2013 “Setting Local Speed Limits”
Circular 1/2013 encourages the wider use of 20mph limits and zones in residential streets and those in towns and cities with high pedestrian and cyclist movements.
Whilst the circular identifies that traffic authorities can over time introduce 20 mph limits and zones in specific areas, where they do so general compliance needs to be achievable without a general reliance on enforcement.
ACPO’s Speed Enforcement Policy Guidelines 2011-2015 makes specific reference to 20mph zones and speed limits. The introduction of these limits without making it clear to all drivers is not supported. If they are, high levels of offending may result leaving vulnerable road users exposed to unnecessary higher speeds and the police with an unsustainable large scale enforcement issue.
Routine prosecution of offenders is seen as an inappropriate and disproportionate measure to achieve general compliance. It is for local authorities to adequately sign and if necessary appropriately engineer a limit to secure compliance. The police should be used to target the identified, persistent and deliberate offender.
The Police Service must ensure all its resources are used effectively in responding to community priorities and calls for service from the public. Enforcement has a part to play and the police will respond to specific intelligence on offending in order to identify persistent high harm offenders. Police enforcement should not be the general arbiter of compliance in 20 mph limits and zones.
These require traffic calming features, e.g. speed humps and chicanes or repeater speed limit signing and/or roundel road markings at regular intervals. The start and end of such a zone should be identified by terminal signs.
These are generally used in urban locations, town and residential areas or in the vicinity of schools. They should be used around shops, markets, playgrounds and other areas with high pedestrian or cyclist traffic. They should not be used on roads where motor vehicle movement is the primary function. It is generally recommended that they are imposed over an area consisting of several roads
20 mph speed limits
These are signed with terminal and at least one repeater sign, and do not require traffic calming. 20 mph limits are similar to other local speed limits and normally apply to individual or small numbers of roads but are increasingly being applied to larger areas.
Signed-only 20 mph speed limits generally lead to only small reductions in traffic speeds and are therefore most appropriate for areas where vehicle speeds are already low. This may, for example, be on roads that are very narrow through engineering or on-road car parking. If the mean speed is already at or below 24 mph on a road, introducing a 20 mph speed limit through signing alone is likely to lead to general compliance with the new speed limit.
Traffic authorities are free to use additional measures in 20 mph limits to achieve compliance, such as some traffic calming measures and vehicle activated signs, or safety cameras if appropriate. Traffic authorities have powers to introduce 20 mph speed limits that apply only at certain times of day. These variable limits may be particularly relevant where for example a school is located on a road that is not suitable for a full-time 20 mph zone or limit, such as a major through road.
Successful 20 mph zones and 20 mph speed limits are generally self-enforcing where the existing conditions of the road together with measures such as traffic calming or signing, publicity and information as part of the scheme, lead to a mean traffic speed compliant with the speed limit. To achieve compliance there should be no expectation on the police to provide additional enforcement beyond their routine activity, unless this has been explicitly agreed and is both proportionate and justifiable.
Comprehensive and early consultation with all those who may be affected by the introduction of a 20 mph scheme is an essential part of the implementation process. This should include local residents, all tiers of local government, the police and emergency services, public transport providers and any other relevant local groups.
The initial police point of contact for such matters is the local Road Casualty Reduction Officer (RCRO). Any consultation regarding the introduction of new or amendment to existing 20mph limits/zones should be referred to the RCRO.
The wider use of 20mph limits impacts upon police enforcement. Generally, there should be little requirement for speed enforcement within a 20mph limit or zone due to their self-enforcing nature. Speeding complaints in such limits must be handled with care and in close consultation with both the local RCRO and relevant highway authority. Engineering solutions are the preferred option to deal with evidence of general poor compliance issues in 20mph limits and zones.
Before considering enforcement in any 20mph speed limit or zone, officers must check that the appropriate signage and Traffic Regulation Order are correct to make the enforcement action legal. This will be done through the local RCRO who will undertake liaison with the relevant highway authority and monitor enforcement activity.
Enforcement has a wide meaning and does not only constitute roadside speed detections. Other options can include providing a high profile police presence, a localised media campaign, leaflet or letter drops in the local community, tasking to the Safety Camera Partnership or SRSU and use of a roadside information devices, which can include Speed Indicator Devices or Speed Visor signs.
Communities often raise excess speed as a concern. As an organisation dedicated to resolving problems and supporting our communities, it is important that we are responsive to public priorities. There are many practical options which must be considered to address these priorities if we wish to retain the confidence of our community.
4.0 Audit / Assessment Compliance [FOIA Open]
This policy has been drafted and audited to comply with the principles of the Human Rights Act. Equality and diversity issues have also been considered to ensure compliance with Equality legislation and policies. In addition Data Protection, Freedom of Information, Management of Police Information and Health and Safety issues have been considered. Adherence to this policy will therefore ensure compliance with all relevant legislation and internal policies.
5.0 Monitoring [FOIA Open]
The implications and impact of this policy will be monitored in relation to the relevant legislation. If any areas are identified as being in need of action, the Operations Unit will undertake this, on behalf of Commander, Operations Support.
6.0 Review and Ownership [FOIA Open]
The review of the contents of this policy is the responsibility of the Commander, Operations Department. Review of the policy will be undertaken annually.