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FAQ’s for Safety Camera Enforcement

Q: Does the camera enforcement operator have to be a Police Officer?

A: No, the safety camera operators are employees of Lancashire Constabulary and are authorised by the Chief Constable to carry out their role of gathering evidence. They have been fully trained in the use of all aspects of the Home Office Type Approved device they are using and are authorised to drive a Police liveried enforcement vehicle.

Q: What offences do the enforcement operators gather evidence for?

A: The purpose of the safety vehicles is to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured in collisions on our roads, by encouraging people to obey speed limits and drive in a safe and considerate manner. The camera operators can detect drivers or passengers who fail to wear a seatbelt, drivers who use a mobile phone or hand held device whilst driving or who fail to be in proper control of their vehicle; they are also able to enforce vehicles travelling in both directions, which means that they are able to measure and photograph vehicles either approaching or receding from the enforcement vehicle.

Q: I didn’t see any signs, how am I meant to know the speed limit?

A: Speed limit signs are circular with black numbers on a white background with a red border. These show the maximum speed that you should travel at. It does not mean that it is safe to travel at that speed in all conditions.


If there are no signs and there are street lights present, lit or unlit (the street lights must be no more than 183 metres apart whether they are on the same or opposite sides of the road), the speed limit is 30mph. The law does not allow the highways authorities to erect “repeater” signs where there are street lights and a 30mph limit

National speed limit

If there are no street lights, and there are no signs to the contrary, then the speed limit is 60mph, or 50mph if the vehicle is a goods vehicle such as a non car-based van or a passenger vehicle with more than eight passenger seats.

It is the duty of the highway authority to erect and maintain signs to give adequate guidance of the speed limit to be observed. There is guidance that tells the highway authorities how this may be achieved but this is not mandatory and adequate guidance can still be provided if the guidance is not followed. The safety camera sites are all checked for adequate legal signage prior to undertaking operational enforcement.

Q: Should there be camera signs to warn drivers of the presence of enforcement vehicles?

A: There is no legal requirement for the police to display camera signs on or near the road or on the enforcement vehicle. Motorists should be aware that if they exceed the legal speed limit anywhere at any time, they risk being detected and fined.

Q: Who sets the speed limits?

A: On motorways and trunk roads, speed limits are set by Highways England. On all other roads, it is the local authority. Before a speed limit is set the police are consulted and a speed limit order is issued where required. Roads where there is a system of street lighting have a default speed limit of 30mph, unless another limit has been imposed by an order and is indicated by signs. A speed limit order is not required for most 30mph limits on roads with street lighting.

Q: Do the enforcement vehicles have to be visible at all times?

A: The enforcement vehicles are clearly visible blue and yellow liveried vans. However, this is not a legal requirement. Covert enforcement is and has always been lawful.

Q: How far can the mobile cameras reach?

A: The mobile cameras employ laser technology to detect the speed of vehicles. The laser has a theoretical range of many miles but for enforcement purposes where the operator needs to see the vehicle, the equipment is calibrated up to 1000 metres.

Q: How do I know the equipment is accurate?

A: All detection devices are Home Office Type Approved for use. The equipment has internal automatic self-diagnostic checks and are regularly tested by the operator during use against known targets. The equipment is also independently checked and calibrated on an annual basis in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidance and issued with a calibration certificate which forms part of police evidence and can be produced in court if required.

Q: Why are you enforcing here?

A:  There are a number of ways speed enforcement sites are agreed:

·         Any static/fixed site can be used for mobile enforcement as long as it is safe to park.

·         Some of the older sites were introduced based on casualty statistics.

·         Some sites were recommended by local councils in response to community concerns.

·         Lancashire RoadWatch’ was introduced by the Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety in September 2011 and comprises of local authorities analysing casualty data to identify the worst accident spots in the County and tasking the mobile enforcement technicians to enforce at any point along that stretch of road. Each site is graded in accordance with speed count data, with the sites having the highest recorded speeds receiving the most enforcement. A small team comprising of police and local authority representatives review complaints of excess speed received from the public and following a review of the site and consideration of the casualty and speed data obtained, enforcement may be programmed into the tasking of the camera technicians.

Q: Is this entrapment?

A: No, entrapment is a practice that induces a person to commit a criminal offence that the person would have otherwise been unlikely to commit. The police are not encouraging drivers to speed, or forcing them to break the speed limit. The purpose of safety cameras is to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured in collisions on Lancashire’s roads, by encouraging people to obey speed limits. Motorists should be aware that if they exceed the legal speed limit, they risk being detected.

Q: What if I block the view of the camera with my vehicle?

A: Any behaviour which is intended to prevent our camera operators from doing their jobs will be treated as harassment and dealt with accordingly and may result in a criminal offence being pursued.

Q: Who should I contact if I have a comment to make about enforcement or a speeding problem?

A: If you have any comments or complaints, please do not raise these with the operator, who is simply following instructions.

For comments or complaints about enforcement please contact; The Camera Team Leader, CPU, P.O. Box 1329, Preston, PR2 0SX

For speeding concerns please contact Lancashire Roads Safety Partnership at www.lancsroadsafety.co.uk

Q: I think I have been caught speeding, what happens next?

A: If a camera has detected an alleged speeding offence, a Notice of Intended Prosecution will be sent to the registered keeper together with a request for driver information, within 14 days. Please note it is an offence under S172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to fail to provide information that is in your power to give, which may lead to the identification of the driver at the time of an alleged offence.

Q: The new safety enforcement vehicles are equipped with CCTV, what will the Police do with this footage?

A: The CCTV is in operation to prevent and detect crime and to increase staff safety in the event of a verbal or physical attack on the camera technician operating the enforcement equipment, it will be stored in line with the Management of Police Information Guidelines. Should you wish to make a Subject Access Request, please visit https://www.lancashire.police.uk/about-us/accessing-information/data-protection-1998-subject-access.aspx or alternatively ring the following telephone number: in the UK: 01772 412714, Overseas: +441772 412714 (Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9am and 5pm).

For details of how we handle your data, please visit the data protection area of the Lancashire Constabulary website at the above address.

We will not tolerate abusive, threatening or insulting behaviour towards our staff and all incidents reported as such will be investigated.