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Punish drivers who go 1mph over speed limit - West Mercia Police chief

Crime | Published:

Motorists should be punished for going just 1mph over the speed limit, West Mercia Police's chief constable has said.

Anthony Bangham, who is also Britain's roads policing chief, has called for an end to the 10 per cent "buffer" over the limit, and said speeding awareness courses were being used too widely instead of penalty points and fines.

Mr Bangham, the National Police Chiefs Council lead on road policing, added that drivers caught speeding should "not come whinging to us about" it.

The West Mercia chief said in a speech at the Police Federation Roads Policing Conference: "Let's change the message - we are proud to be law enforcers.

"I do not want the public to be surprised, I want them to be embarrassed when they get caught.

"They need to understand the law is set at the limit for a reason.

"They should not come whinging to us about getting caught. If booked at 35 or 34 or 33 (in a 30mph zone) that cannot be unfair because they are breaking the law."

Current guidance suggests police forces should only issue penalties for drivers caught at 10 per cent plus 2mph over the limit - 35mph in a 30mph zone, for example.

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Tory MP Sir Greg Knight warned against an "overly aggressive policy against drivers", saying: "It will make criminals of motorists who are basically good drivers trying to obey the speed limit, while keeping an eye on the road."

A total of 1,710 people were killed on the roads in the year up to June 2017, according to the latest statistics.

Last year, figures found only about half of fixed speed cameras in the UK were actually switched on and catching offenders.

Fatal four causes

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Data released by 36 of the 45 police forces in the UK found that four have no fixed speed cameras at all and 13 have fewer than half actively catching speeding drivers.

This afternoon Mr Bangham issued a statement, saying: "The number of people who are killed and seriously injured on our roads across West Mercia is increasing and the fatal four causes feature highly as reasons behind these.

"The police have a significant role to play in enforcing the law and we are the single agency who have the ability to do so. Speaking at a national conference yesterday as the national lead for roads policing I and colleagues debated how we could further protect people on our roads. No decisions were taken but we did consider options for how to reduce speeding. I am clear that in my force of West Mercia Police I want to do everything possible to make our roads safer.

"We know that enforcement can change people's behaviours and I want to ensure the public, who use the road network in West Mercia, are not surprised to see enforcement activity. We will always ensure our activity is intelligence led and therefore on our highest harm routes, if we know they are dangerous, then we will consider how we best enforce those speed limits.

"I want West Mercia Police to do everything possible to protect people using our roads and lead the way in ensuring enforcement activity, particularly around the fatal four causes, which are drink and drug driving, speeding, mobile phone use and seatbelts. The speed limits on our roads are set for good reason and I want our local communities to have clarity around their understanding as to what speed limits are and mean."

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