Road Police Chief Demands Fines For Driving 1mph Over The Speed Limit
Chief Constable Anthony Bangham has called for an end to the 10 per cent 'buffer' on speeding, saying that the days of 'soft' treatment have come to an end and drivers should stop 'whingeing' if they are caught.
Britain's road policing chief said motorists should be punished for speeding even if they are just 1mph over the limit.
The West Mercia chief’s speech comes after recent figures exhibited a rise in road deaths, but Tory MP, Greg Knight warned a tough approach would 'make criminals of good drivers', while motoring chiefs say such a policy could even prove harmful, with drivers eyes 'glued' to the speedometer instead of the road.
The most recent figures available from the Department for Transport show there were 1,792 road deaths reported in 2016 – up 4 per cent from 2015 and the highest annual total since 2011.
Mr Bangham claimed that speed awareness courses are also used too widely and as such motorists are no longer afraid of speeding punishments.
He said the courses should be reserved for those only marginally over the limit and everyone else should get fines and points on their licence.
The officer also added that traffic officers should stop being 'apologetic' for handing out speeding tickets, saying speeders should stop 'whingeing' about being caught.
Critics, however, have warned that this hardline approach risks alienating motorists and could make them feel 'victimised'.
Tory MP Sir Greg Knight said: 'The police rely in many cases to solve crimes on the good will of the public,'
'I can think of nothing more likely to destroy that good will than an overly aggressive policy towards motorists.
'It will make criminals of motorists who are basically good drivers trying to obey the speed limit, while keeping an eye on the road.'
He added: 'It is a pity he is not expressing the same enthusiasm for cracking down on violent crime and yobbish behaviour.'
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: 'Mr Bangham would appear to want to go back to the days of Dixon of Dock Green.
'Of course speeding is dangerous, and drivers should not speed. But surely it is better to educate motorists rather than just slap a fine on them. The last thing we want is drivers glued to speedometer 100 per cent of time. We want drivers to concentrate on road ahead and not be worried about going one or two miles over the limit.'
According to the Daily Mail, Mr Bangham stated 'enough is enough', arguing that police had lost sight of their duty to enforce the law and spent too much time justifying speeding tickets and being 'patient' with speeders.
'Let's change the message – we are proud to be law enforcers,' he said. '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 police guidelines state motorists shouldn't be stopped if travelling 10 per cent over the speed limit. They also are given an extra 2mph allowance above this, which also includes offences caught on camera.
The policies are equivalent to being allowed to travel at 68mph in a 60mph zone or 35 mph in a 30mph zone.
Motorists who are caught speeding by a few miles per hour are usually offered a speed awareness course rather than points on their licence, as long as they haven't attended one recently. It is only after this that motorists get points and a fine.
Mr Bangham proposes ditching the buffer and instead sending anyone caught going up to 10 per cent over the limit on a speed awareness course.
The courses typically cost between £75 and £100, depending on where you live. As such, anyone caught doing over 10 per cent would automatically face penalty points and a fine.
Mr Bangham's comments are significant as he is the National Police Chiefs' Council lead on road policy and other chief constables will likely follow his lead.
Mr Bangham claims there is no reason why police aren't capable of reducing the number of road deaths to zero - and making Britain's roads the safest in the world.
He also accused the Government of pandering to speeding voters rather than worrying about the rising numbers of road deaths and injuries, adding: 'I would like to see a more obvious, explicit commitment to this across Government.'
Howard Cox, founder of motoring campaign group FairFuelUK, responded to the comments saying: 'It's clear that the Chief Constable is simply going after easy targets.
Motorists who drive dangerously must be caught, but at a few miles over the speed limit they should not be subject to these unintelligent threats and intimidation, clearly to fill the force's coffers and to benefit his prosecution rates.'