Frequently Asked Questions

Very. The unit has been designed to make the process as simple as possible. One security band and no wiring makes the installation a five or ten minute job. All the required tools and fittings are included in the box. However, it is important that you plan the correct location of the unit as this has a crucial role in its performance. You should have permission to install the unit (either from the landowner if private land, or the council if not). You must also ensure that your relevant Highway Authority are involved beforehand to ensure the unit causes no risk of distraction, obscuring views, strikes, etc. If the installation is located where pedestrian access is not separated from road traffic (by kerbs, barriers, etc), then you will probably need to use someone who is 'Chapter 8' competent to perform the installation . If in doubt, ask Highways or look it up until you are sure of what to do. We can help you find someone, if needed.
Often UK parish and local councils wonder if they're allowed to use AutoSpeedWatch. The answer is "yes"; it is entirely legal but you have responsibilities to ensure you remain compliant with the law. In the UK the use of any public facing cameras is overseen by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC); their function is to encourage compliance with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Autospeedwatch Limited has been certified as compliant by the SCC. The law must be followed and the purchaser adopts certain responsibilities to ensure their own compliance, although not particularly onerous; please see our AutoSpeedWatch and UK Law page and our terms and conditions for details. We also provide templates to help get you started.

AutoSpeedWatch deliberately avoids recording people and no personal information is recorded. Instead it records vehicles, and only those vehicles where there is good reason to suspect it is significantly breaking the law. It records the rear of vehicles to avoid faces, and people are not identified within AutoSpeedWatch - that is left to the police should they choose to investigate further and connect a vehicle to a registered owner or keeper, and that information is not passed back to AutoSpeedWatch Therefore, should the police wish to investigate a vehicle by looking up the vehicle owner/keeper then that personal information remains entirely within the domain of the police.
According to the police, speed camera warning signs are not required. However, this is not entirely consistent with the Protection of Freedoms Act (PoFA 2012) and it may be that you will need to have signage for the roadside unit as it contains a public facing camera and therefore falls within the PoFA definition of "Surveillance Camera". According to the guidelines, camera surveillance in public requires signage (and that is only fair given its prolific use when recording and monitoring law-abiding citizens; AutoSpeedWatch only records where offences have occurred). On our understanding of UK Law we recommend you use our information signs, even though an image is only captured, and the LPD assistant tool used, only after a speed offence is detected. As always, we suggest it's worth involving the local police authority, local councils and highways agency from the start. We are certified as compliant by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner; you should aim to also be compliant and this will require the use of roadside signs.
We've designed the system to be as reliable and accurate as possible. Although it is not Home Office approved for the purposes of evidence to issue a penalty under the Road Traffic Act (it doesn't need to be), it is important that we do not falsely accuse law-abiding drivers. As with any similar radar-based system it works in a very complex radar environment - it therefore has multiple filters and processing constraints to check that it is measuring what it intends to measure and not some interaction caused by other combinations of vehicle movements. If there's doubt we'd rather ignore a speeder than photograph every one. It typically takes between 15 and 60 speed measurements of a vehicle, checks for consistency, and averages the past 5 (always rounds down to the nearest integer speed). It then goes through 9 layers of filtering before taking a image. This works well - whilst individual records can't be used as definitive proof of speeding, multiple records are very compelling..... typically within a few days it becomes very obvious which vehicles are habitually speeding. The networked nature of the system means that bad driving attitude is identified even if a vehicle passes several different units. The system is tested as accurate against other radar based systems and is accurate.....its error margin is < 1mph. It does not require 'calibration' as (unlike earlier systems) as there is nothing to adjust. Instead a differential frequency comparator means the speed recorded immutably linked to the law of Doppler physics.
If the roadside unit is to be installed on private land then seek the landowners permission, otherwise obtain approval from your local parish council and/or the highways authority in your area. Depending on the installation position, you may need to have Chapter 8 competencies to ensure the safety of you and others during the installation. The installation of traffic and speed cameras is not development as defined in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, so neither planning permission nor permitted development rights are required for their installation.
No need to return to the unit to download information; it automatically arrives in your dashboard ready for verification by your team. Then there are 3 ways to see the information:

Viewing results
The coordinator of a Community Speedwatch group can view the results on any of the mainstream web-browsers by using their My Autospeedwatch account. The system lets the coordinator of the group see those vehicles that persistently speed, as well as the highest, and most recent speeders. This allows them to ask for priority police support for those vehicles causing the greatest risks to safety; i.e. limited police resources can be targeted more efficiently. Information on typical results is available here.

Police reports
Each CSW coordinator can also send the local police electronic reports for each location they look after. These reports are typically an automatically produced email containing the recent highest and most persistent speeders, with links to allow the police to see the speed offences directly themselves. Alternatively a CSV of the raw speeder data can be downloaded and combined with the records from traditional Speedwatch sessions. AutoSpeedWatch 'connects' CSW teams together so that the police can identify poor driving behaviours across multiple CSW teams.

Police/authority direct access
The police can also have direct access to the system. This allows them to see real-time collected intelligence across their entire region, or any subset of it, rather than sifting through individual data logs. They see prioritised specific vehicles offences across multiple locations, and where and when speeding tends to occur. The intelligence the police see includes :
  • which vehicles across their region are persistently causing the greatest risks
  • where those specific vehicles tend to speed and when
  • which speeding vehicles do not have Vehicle Duty (Road Tax) or valid MoT
  • where and when to deploy Speed Enforcement Units for best effect
  • when speeding occurs at each of the AutoSpeedWatch locations
Not easily, but then it misses much of the point of the system to move them. Sometimes (for example changes to road layout or parking) it makes good sense and can be done with a little previous coordination and some work from us. A fixed AutoSpeedWatch unit with signs has been independently shown to reduce speeding by 50%, even without Police involvement. The units have been designed to be simple, affordable, and fit-and-forget; as a consequence are designed to be permanently fixed at a single position, and not moved between locations. Currently, the captured data from a unit is synonymous with a physical location, and moving the unit will invalidate all previous data recorded by the unit, requiring administrative data-reconfiguration. The networked nature of the unit means that moving the unit also impacts data for neighbouring units. Moving a unit about tends to reduce the intelligence of the system down towards the data-logging level of existing solutions, removing much of the benefit for the police. So, it is possible, but is not simple and involves service charges we need to make each time a move is made. We find that many people ask about moving units before they purchase, but once installed they tend to want to leave it where it is. It works.
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