Police get precise information with less effort
You don't need the police to use AutoSpeedWatch as a deterrent, but their enforcement makes the system more powerful. There are many great UK police forces (like Gloucestershire, Kent, Essex, West Yorkshire, etc.) that are actively pursuing new ways of increasing road safety, and there are some that are not. So, before you purchase, check that your local force actively cares about speeding, and supports CSW/AutoSpeedWatch.
We've found some police hear "AutoSpeedWatch" and assume it's robots flooding them with data. Absolutely NOT. It's the opposite. It gives the police specific vehicle intelligence, rather than loads of log data. The system is fully legal, driver educational, improves safety, and its operation is certified compliant with the SCC Codes of Practice.
"It'll mean we've got to process and send loads of warning letters"
No. They've misunderstood. The entire point is that it saves Police effort and cost. It identifies and collates the worst speeders automatically, allowing them to target resources to where it has the biggest safety impact. They can send as few, or as many, letters as they wish knowing they'll be far more targeted and effective. The intelligence AutoSpeedWatch provides means their limited resources have a bigger safety impact, and better public support.
"Its a public facing camera with GDPR and Surveillance implications"
AutoSpeedWatch is fully compliant with Home Office camera guidelines and meets UK law, and is actually far less intrusive than other existing systems. It provides the same information as traditional speedwatch but organised to be more useful. It does not collect or store personal vehicle information, and is not constrained by GDPR, but nonetheless manages VRN data as if potentially sensitive. Owner and keeper information always remain within the police domain. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner has confirmed their support of AutoSpeedWatch by the police, councils, or their partners as used within the guidelines. Autospeedwatch Limited has even been independently assessed and certified as compliant with the Surveillance Camera Commissioner Codes of Practice for its use of the system. See our section on UK law for details.
"The NASPLE ANPR standards mean we cant support it"
Wrong. AutoSpeedWatch is not an "ANPR System". The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) defines ANPR as a system that automatically records and logs each passing vehicle, which AutoSpeedWatch does not. AutoSpeedWatch is no more ANPR than yellow-box speed cameras. The NASPLE standards are internal police standards for police ANPR cameras and are simply irrelevant.
"Policy says no fixed enforcement camera"
It's not an enforcement camera, it's a system that educates to modify driver behaviours. Where yellow enforcement cameras have been withdrawn, it will likely be due to the 2008 restructuring of funding support from the Department for Transport, or because of public sentiment against the police for 'profiteering' from speeding. AutoSpeedWatch does not issue fines, and the public tend to support AutoSpeedWatch because it targets the worst driving, whilst modifying driver behaviour generally.
"It needs to be calibrated"
AutoSpeedWatch is not used to issue penalties, but it is accurate and reliable sufficient to provide excellent police intelligence. Only Home Office type approved equipment can be used as evidence in a court of law, or for issuing penalties. The radar equipment used by Community Speedwatch groups are therefore not required to meet the Home Office type approval standards for evidence. Instead mass-market radar devices typically used for measuring sports performance are often used. AutoSpeedWatch has been extensively tested and shown to accurately report speeds.
"Calibration" suggests adjustment against another device and reflects a previous generation of radar guns which required regular frequency testing and tuning to ensure the speed reading was accurate. Nowadays most radar Doppler systems do not require frequency calibration. Instead they work on a different principle where the indicated vehicle speed is immutably linked to the laws of physics. AutoSpeedWatch uses this system. In addition it takes multiple readings, rather than just one. It's accuracy has been thoroughly tested and shown to be excellent.
"We need the visible deterrence of yellow jackets"
If you think about it, this argument make no sense at all. It's not the yellow jackets that changes driver behaviour, it's the risk of being caught. This is why motorway average speed cameras are so effective. With signs AutoSpeedWatch is known to be present and operating, then the risk of being caught is constantly present; an independent assessment demonstrated AutoSpeedWatch reducing speeding by half, even before police enforcement. If the expectation of being caught is constant then the impact will be longer lasting than ad-hoc traditional speedwatch.
Besides, AutoSpeedWatch does not prevent traditional speedwatch sessions; it adds to them. Traditional speedwatch has been around for two decades now. We still have speeding. Isn't it time to be more effective?
What if your police don't engage?
Police forces are increasing adopting AutoSpeedWatch as its effectiveness becomes evident. If your force is slow to adopt them we make some suggestions below. Remember though that public sector organisations, like the police, can suffer from inertia and rank-approval structures. Generally, innovators in the Police are rare and organisations like this are not naturally responsive to new methods. Instead they can be slow, cumbersome, and often bureaucratic. Don't blame the people within them - such organisations often attract that character of person. Be the safety champion they need. Be active, educate, and insist.
- Contact your PCC. Insist that they steer the police according to public concern; that it their job. They are representing you, not the police. If they don't then don't re-elect them.
- Get your police Head of Road Safety to talk to other forces that already support it, like Gloucestershire, Kent, Cumbria, etc.
- Run a single trial site to demonstrate the road safety improvement and the benefit to police efficiency/effectiveness.
- Use your democratically elected council power to act in your interest. Do it anyway.
- It's your community, own it. Persuade the police to think positively and find solutions.
A RoSPA fact sheet reports 217 deaths in 2015 due to exceeding the speed limit, and refers to a study of 4000 safety cameras that concluded a 42% drop in fatalities near safety cameras. That should be sufficient reason to get the police enthusiastic.