At its meeting on 19 July 2000, Chief Constables'
Council agreed to accept these guidelines and to recommend to
chief constables that they be adopted for implementation as appropriate
to their forces. Copyright. See last page for copyright notice.
Joining Forces for Safer Roads
Securing a higher level of compliance with existing
speed limits has the potential to deliver the following benefits:
Reduced casualties, in terms of both
numbers and severity
Reduced demand upon the Health Service
Reduced conflict between motor vehicles
and other road users
A calmer and more free-flowing traffic
Improved quality of life in local
Effective Speed Enforcement will contribute to
the following Government Policies
Police Service Overarching Aims and
National Road Safety Strategy and
Targets to 2010
"Saving Lives: Our Healthier
Nation" (White Paper 1999)
Community Safety Strategies (Crime
& Disorder Act 1998)
Local Transport Plans (Integrated
Local Government Act (Best Value
The Human Rights Act 1998
The Police Role
Strategic guidance on the role of the police
in society is provided through the Police Overarching Aims and
Statement of Purpose:
"To help secure a safe and just society
in which the rights and responsibilities of individuals, families
and communities are properly balanced"
"Promote safety and reduce disorder"
"Reduce crime and the fear of crime"
"Contribute to delivering justice in a
way which secures and maintains public confidence in the rule
Objectives (one of eleven)
"Contribute to improving road safety and
the reduction of casualties"
This has been developed by ACPO following wide
consultation, to help deliver the "Overarching Aims and Objectives
for the Police Service", and has the following Strategic
"To secure an environment where the individual
can use the roads with confidence, free from death and injury,
damage or fear"
Supported by the following Key Objectives:
Improved road user behaviour
Improving driver behaviour is a key area and
the following three operational priorities for 2000-01 have been
identified as having the most potential for contributing to the
improvement of road safety and the reduction of road casualties:
The following should be read in conjunction
with the ACPO Prosecution Policy Guidelines on the use of the
Fixed Penalty System
The principles of Speed Enforcement
The enforcement of traffic law by the police
should be guided by the principles of proportionality in applying
the law and securing compliance; targeting of enforcement action;
consistency of approach; and transparency about what enforcement
action is undertaken, and why; and recognition that effective
partnerships with other organisations are essential.
Proportionality means relating enforcement action
to the risks. Those whom the law protects and those on whom it
places duties expect that action taken by the police to achieve
compliance (in this case speed limits) should be proportionate
to the risks to individuals and property and to the seriousness
of any breach.
Targeting means making sure that enforcement
action is directed primarily at those whose behaviour poses the
greatest risk (particularly to others), often at identifiable
locations or in identifiable circumstances. Targeting needs to
take full advantage of a wide range of information sources, including
academic research, to develop a greater level of understanding
of what the problems are and how to resolve them, so that enforcement
action can be focused and prioritised.
Effective targeting will therefore ensure that
road risks are objectively identified and prioritised for appropriate
action; that suitable resources are deployed; and that pertinent
monitoring and evaluation takes place so that costs and benefits
can be properly assessed and future decision making enhanced.
Consistency of approach does not mean uniformity.
It does mean taking a similar approach in similar circumstances
to achieve similar ends. Police officers are faced with many variables;
the decision as to what action to take is a matter of judgement,
and they must exercise their discretion. Where Police Officers
believe that an offence has been committed (in this case, that
a motorist has driven at any speed over the relevant speed limit),
in exercising their discretion as to the appropriate enforcement
action, they must consider the nature and circumstances of the
offence. Depending on those circumstances they may decide to issue
a summons, issue a fixed penalty notice, caution, warn or take
no action. For instance, it might be appropriate to issue a summons
for exceeding a speed limit at relatively low speeds over the
relevant limit on roads near schools at certain times of day or
when there are adverse weather conditions, whereas a similar offence
committed in the middle of the night might merit the issue of
a fixed penalty notice.
Road users do expect consistency from the police
nationally, and this feature has been identified as a benefit
linked to the operation of speed cameras. Inconsistency in enforcement
practice undermines public confidence and contributes to resentment.
It is part of ACPO's role to ensure that consistency is achieved
Transparency means helping drivers to understand
what is expected of them and why. It also means ensuring clarity
about what the public can expect from the police. Raising the
public's understanding of the full implications of their actions
(specifically including the human and financial costs) will assist
in changing behaviour and ultimately attitudes.
The way in which ACPO tries to achieve transparency
is by publishing guidance to chief constables to enable them,
in turn, to offer operational advice and guidance to their officers.
ACPO's guidance is placed in the public domain.
ACPO's guidance has been formulated having taken
account of the need for proportionality (especially with the introduction
of Human Rights legislation) and the need for targeting in order
to maximise the potential of scarce police resources and make
a substantial contribution to the multi-agency road death and
injury reduction effort.
Driving at any speed over the limit is an offence.
The differing speed limits are generally related, and proportionate,
to the risks to all road users using that road. Where police officers
consider that an offence has been committed ie that a motorist
has driven at any speed over the relevant speed limit, they should
consider whether it is appropriate to take enforcement action
against the offender.
The Police Service now uses technology that
enables it to prove that an offence has been committed as soon
as a driver exceeds the relevant speed limit by a very small margin.
Motorists will therefore be at risk of prosecution immediately
they exceed any legal speed limit.
The guidance to police officers is that it is
anticipated that, other than in the most exceptional circumstances,
the issue of fixed penalty notices and summonses is likely to
be the minimum appropriate enforcement action as soon as the following
speeds have been reached:
|20 mph||25 mph
|30 mph||35 mph
|40 mph ||46 mph
|50 mph||57 mph
|60 mph||68 mph
|70 mph||79 mph
| ||Fixed penalty of
1. £60 (pending)
2. Licence endorsed with 3 penalty points
|Magisterial discretion (level 2)|
1. £1000 fine
2. Licence endorsedrange of penalty points available
4. Compulsory re-testing
This guidance does not and cannot replace the police officer's
discretion and they may decide to issue a summons or a fixed penalty
notice in respect of offences committed at speeds lower than those
set out in the table. Moreover, in particular circumstances, driving
at speeds lower than the legal limit may result in prosecution
for other offences, for example dangerous driving or driving without
due care and attention when the speed is inappropriate and inherently
Effective speed enforcement cannot be carried out by one
agency acting alone. The Police Service actively seeks to develop
close working relationships with others (eg the DTLR and Agencies,
highway authorities, magistrates courts, education authorities,
road safety organisations etc.) in order to promote road safety
and ensure that approaches to speed compliance which do not rely
solely upon sanctions are fully exploited.
See copyright notice overleaf
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