In a recent photograph snapped by a passing motorist, a traffic officer can be clearly seen hiding in a tractor with a mounted speed camera pointed at a road near Sledmere, East Yorkshire.
While the Humberside police claim these “unmarked vehicles” are necessary for catching ‘high end’ speeding offenders, the tactics are at complete odds with government recommendations that all mobile speed cameras should be “clearly identifiable as an enforcement vehicle”.
Hidden Safety Measures or Sneaky Tactics?
It’s no surprise that the hidden speed cameras have angered local motorcycling enthusiasts, who have taken to social media to warn others about the unmarked vehicles. Many have blasted the tactics as “totally underhand” and a “money generating operation”.
In a statement to the press, inspector Mark Hughes, from Humberside Police Road Policing unit admitted that a number of speed cameras had been deployed to catch speeding motorists in the East Riding of Yorkshire, but he would not say just how many were located in unmarked vehicles.
He explained that the hidden speed cameras are designed to target those who “insist on driving at dangerously high speeds on our country roads”, but outcry points to the differing advice issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers (now renamed the National Police Chiefs Council). This reads: “Operators of devices should normally do so from positions where they will be clearly visible to the public”.
Are Hidden Speed Cameras the Answer?
In the UK, there are about 6,000 speed cameras. Roughly 2,500 of these are mobile devices used on the roadside by traffic officers in stationary vehicles.
In the East Riding area of Yorkshire, speeds in excess of 100mph are regularly recorded on the country roads, which is an increasing cause for concern for the Humberside Police.
Inspector Hughes added: “It goes without saying that such speeds on these roads are inherently dangerous, particularly when you consider how many side roads and field entrances there are.
“Someone pulling out onto the road does not expect a vehicle coming towards them at such high speeds, the likelihood of a catastrophic collision is raised considerably.”
While these are valid reasons for deploying speed cameras in the area, many would argue it’s a step too far using hidden speed cameras in unmarked vehicles.
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