Surge in number of drivers caught speeding after camera threshold is tightened up

September 26, 2022 by

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Metropolitan Police reduces speed-camera tolerances, with 259% more drivers caught speeding following the change

London’s Metropolitan Police used to set its speed cameras with a 10% +3mph threshold, meaning drivers would not be issued tickets unless they were travelling at 25mph or more in a 20mph zone, or 36mph or more in a 30mph limit, for example.

But in 2019 the Met made its speed-camera enforcement policy more strict, setting a 10+2mph threshold that meant drivers would be issued tickets if a camera detected them travelling at 24mph or more in a 20mph zone, or 35mph or more on a road with a 30mph limit.

The force introduced this change without any announcement, according to the Sunday Times, which first revealed the story, and the tightening up of rules correlated with a sharp increase in the number of drivers issued speeding tickets by the Met, the paper reports. Between January and June 2022 347,000 drivers were told they faced prosecution for speeding, a 259% increase from 97,000 in the six months prior to the change.

Previously, however, the Metropolitan Police’s 10%+3mph threshold was something of an outlier among police forces, as a 2019 freedom of information request found the majority of forces used a 10%+2mph threshold. Out of the forces responding to that request, only the Met Police and Lancashire constabulary used a 10%+3mph threshold. Indeed, the 10%+2mph threshold is the one recommended by the the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

The Metropolitan Police told carwow: “The Met does not tolerate excess speeding and will continue to enforce drivers who fail to comply with the speed limit, to ensure the safety of all London’s road users. The Met has made no change to its enforcement threshold since 14 May 2019, when it was set at 10% +2 mph from 10% +3 mph.”

The statement continued: “There has been an increase in the issue of Notices of Intended Prosecution by 259 per cent (2019 compared to 2022), however this figure is as a result of increase in capacity and is not related to the enforcement threshold change. There have been year-on-year increases in the number of Notices of Intended Prosecution issued by the Met before and after the enforcement threshold change on 14 May 2019.”

The force said it does not “enforce at 23 mph in a 20 mph speed limit”, but added: “Excess and inappropriate speed is a contributory factor in almost half of fatal collisions and levels of non-compliance in London remain too high.”

The force said it is increasing its “enforcement capability” around speed limits, and intends “to enforce up to one million offences per year by 2024/25.”

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