North Yorkshire Police deploys smaller vans to catch speeders

North Yorkshire Police are to use smaller vans in a bid to catch more speeding drivers. 

The new, more agile vehicles will bring the total number of safety vans in North Yorkshire up to 12.

Due to their smaller size the new vans are more suited to hard-to-reach locations, the force says.

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Using state-of-the art camera equipment, the vans can not only detect speeding drivers, but can also identify anti-social driving such as seat belt offences and drivers using mobile phones behind the wheel.

The vans are also equipped with Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology (ANPR), which assists with the detection of cross border crime, protecting those communities more vulnerable due to their location, by deterring and disrupting travelling criminals.

 Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, and North Yorkshire Police Chief Constable, Dave Jones, went along to see one of the new vehicles in action in the village of Hampsthwaite near Harrogate, on Friday 7 April 2017.

 Julia said: “The most important thing to me is that they can be much more responsive to local communities and can easily be deployed to where there are 30mph and 40mph limits.

I get lots of correspondence from people, particularly in rural areas, complaining that speeding and anti-social behaviour on the roads is a real problem within their local area and I think these vans are a really good response to that.

They don’t just deal with speeding issues, for example, if you’re on your mobile phone they can film that and you can be prosecuted. They also have ANPR cameras that scan number plates which can detect if there are criminals travelling through communities. They have a range of different uses and are much more flexible than the bigger vans.

North Yorkshire hasn’t ever had any fixed cameras. We have one of the largest road networks in the country so we have a lot of roads to get around and a lot of these are rural roads. These vans are a much better, more flexible resource that can be used in lots of different situations.”

Over the past three years Newcastle University have conducted studies into North Yorkshire’s KSI (killed or seriously injured) statistics across 22 local sites and evaluated the effect of the safety camera vans on the level of road safety.

The study found that due to the deployment of the vans to those 22 sites reviewed there has been a reduction of eight casualties.

Speaking about the deployment of the new vehicles and the vital role of the safety camera vans , North Yorkshire Police Chief Constable, Dave Jones, said: “The new vans will enable us to reach locations which are both vulnerable to anti-social driving and cross border crime, bringing a further sense of security to our rural communities.

The mobility of the vans is the key to achieving our aim of changing driver attitudes for the long term. Once a speed camera is fixed, motorists get wise to its whereabouts and only change their behaviour 15 seconds before and 10 seconds after driving past one. Our aim with the vans is to educate drivers about the dangers speeding and distracted driving pose and encourage them to change their behaviour, making the roads safer for all.”

With the study conducted by Newcastle University finding a reduction of eight casualties as a direct result of the current vehicles, the extension of the fleet is a positive step towards preventing tragedies on our roads and saving more lives. ”

Tom Watson, Safety Camera Officer, said: “It’s a total change from using the big vans, these smaller vehicles will fit into smaller sites making it easier to monitor rural roads.

Because we have to stand outside of the vans to use the equipment, it encourages more people to come and talk to us and ask why we are there. We can explain to them the direct benefit the cameras have to their safety, when they are behind the wheel of their car.”

For more information about the safety camera vans, community speed watch scheme or what to do if you have a speeding concern go to the new North Yorkshire Police Traffic Bureau facebook page or the North Yorkshire Police website