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. They can choose to receive:
- generalised location intelligence, or
- specific vehicle AND general location intelligence.
General location intelligence informs the police where and when speeding occurs so that they can prioritise their Speed Enforcement Units to the right locations at the best times; it does not identify specific vehicles to them. Specific vehicle intelligence allows the police to target individual vehicles that are habitually causing safety risks.
We've found some police hear "AutoSpeedWatch" and assume it's robots flooding them with data. Absolutely NOT. It's the opposite (see right). It gives the police one piece of high level intelligence, rather than loads of individual log data. The system is fully legal, driver educational, improves safety, and its operation is certified compliant with the SCC Codes of Practice.
Which UK Mainland forces are already using AutoSpeedWatch?
The green areas show where police are using AutoSpeedWatch and acting upon it. Grey areas are where we don't know, or haven't heard yet, although there may be parishes with AutoSpeedWatch units deployed. Red areas are where police refuse to support its use. Nothing known in Scotland or Northern Ireland yet. Variants are soon available for right-hand drive markets.
Common police queries
"It'll mean sending 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 prioritise and 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.
"We can't because of GDPR and SCC"
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 information, and is not constrained by GDPR, but nonetheless manages publicly visible VRN data as if potentially sensitive. Owner and keeper information always remain within the police domain. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC) 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. However, for those forces that are still unsure, we provide an option for them to see only general location intelligence and not specific vehicle information.
"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. 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 needs to be 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 well 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?