Camera vans catch 135 speeders near York

North Yorkshire Police safety (speed) vans caught 135 motorists speeding on roads near York in April.

The majority of the offenders were detected on the A64.

Most of the offenders have been referred for speed awareness courses although 8 face a court appearance for more serious violations

The figures for the period between 8th – 23rd April are detailed on the police web site (click)

In addition to speeding offences, 6 drivers were found not to be wearing seat belts.

The figures also reveal that the vans have not been used to check vehicle speeds in the urban area.

This may prove to be a controversial use of resources as “reassurance checks” in residential areas have been promised by Chief Constables in the past.

Safety camera van results 8th -22nd April 2020

Speed cameras still focus on York southern by pass

The latest results from the county’s speed safety camera vans reveal that the proportion of drivers exceeding speed limits is stable.
Safety camera van

In York, the vans have concentrated their activities on the A64 southern by pass, where it is not unusual for several dozen speeders to be identified

On one day in February – the latest month for which stats are available – 29 speeders were caught on the A64 westbound near Fulford

North York’s Police are not publishing results as quickly as they have in the past

A separate programme of speed checks, which measures the average speed of vehicles on problem roads, hasn’t been updated this year. These checks involve the use of static equipment. They do not identify individual vehicles.

Roads in the York area waiting for checks – and subsequent remedial action – include:

  • Hawthorn Terrace
  • Hamilton Drive (20 mph)
  • York Road, Dunnington
  • Ox Carr Lane, Strensall
  • Bracken Road
  • Salisbury Terrace
  • Ullswater
  • Lords Moor Lane, Strensall
  • Church Lane, Bishopthorpe
  • Alcuin Avenue
  • Bad Bargain Lane
  • Osbaldwick Lane
  • Temple Avenue
  • Fourth Avenue
  • Towthorpe Road
  • Scarcroft Road

Most of these roads don’t have any recorded injury accidents. None are routinely checked by the enforcement camera vans.

And that remains the problem with the vehicle speed limit enforcement. The expensive camera vans may be influencing average speeds, but the police make no attempt to demonstrate this.

They don’t even publish comparative stats showing the trend in the percentage of speeders at regularly monitored sites.

Within the next few years it is likely that all new vehicles will be fitted with technology which will not only confirm the prevailing speed limit on a dashboard display, but also offer the opportunity for remote enfacement.

That may be a challenge for civil liberties but it could finally rein in the 100 mph plus drivers whose behaviour often irritates other motorists.

Speed/Safety camera results
Vehicle average speeds on York roads

Speed camera vans in North Yorkshire generate £1.9 million in income

The annual report into the performance of North Yorkshires 12 speed camera vans has been published.

We have been critical of the Crime Commissioner in the past for failing to demonstrate a link between the deployment of the vans and a reduction in accident rates.

The latest report makes some attempt to do so.

Overall speed related accidents, resulting in death or serious injury, have fluctuated since 2010 when the first vans were deployed.

There were fewer serious accidents recorded  in 2017 that in 2016.

However, safer roads may result from several factors. Local Council proactively carry out engineering work at accident black-spots while passive measures, such as signs which flash a vehicles speed, can also have an effect.

So, we must look closer for evidence that the cameras are reducing speeds and accident levels.

The vans mostly concentrate on locations where there is a known speeding problem. This includes sites like Whitwell on the Hill on the A64 where 4686 violations were recorded during 2017.

We looked in vain for a trend over the years in both average recorded speeds, the percentage of drivers speeding and accident levels for this section of road.

There are, however, around 20 serious accidents on the A64 each year, so some speed monitoring is clearly justified.

We remain supportive of the deployment of mobile cameras. In addition to monitoring speeds they can now spot other infringements like mobile phone use and lack of a seat belt.

The ANPR facility allows professional criminals to be identified as they move into and around the county.

But we remain sceptical about whether 12 mobile cameras can be justified. They cost taxpayers a net £263,000 last year.

Yet many local roads like Wetherby Road and Green Lane in west York didn’t receive a single visit for a van last year. Anyone monitoring the flashing signs on these roads will see that around 10% of drivers are exceeding the speed limit.

In a residential area that is a potential safety risk which requires some attention

Missing speed camera performance report found

We reported on claims made in April that the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) had claimed that University report had found that 8 accidents had been prevented as a result of the deployment of mobile speed camera vans in the county.

We did wonder at the time how they could possibly know?

Maybe accident reduction is about keeping drivers alert?

The police have previously admitted that they don’t record the trend in average/mean/top speeds recorded at the sites that they regularly monitor with cameras.

So there is currently no way of knowing whether vehicle speeds are reducing, or increasing, over a period of time.

Nor were the police able to provide accident data for monitored sites, although we still await a response from a fresh Freedom of Information request on this issue.

On 11th May, North Yorkshire Police emailed us to say that they “do not currently hold a copy of the study conducted by Newcastle University

On 5th June, following further pressure,  the PCCs office provided a link to what they claimed was the University study. As we recorded at the time, this study concerned only Northumberland and appeared to have little relevance to the situation in North Yorkshire.

On 30thJune a further message was received from the PCCs office. It appears that they had now found a report (reproduced below).  It transpires that the report was based on a desk top study that had been undertaken in 2015

Unfortunately, the report covered a period between 2011 and 2014 where there had been a general downturn in accident figures across the whole of North Yorkshire.

We conclude that the Police and PCC have been evasive when responding to requests that they justify their expenditure on deploying additional mobile camera vans (There are 12 in the county now).

Too often it seems that the cameras are located at sites where the principal objective is to maximise revenue (the income from “speed awareness” courses is used by the police to offset the costs of the vans).

Recent accidents on the A64 may raise further concerns about the effectiveness of the policy.

The original intention of the speed vans had been to locate them at and near, accident black spots.

They would also spend some of their time in the suburbs, and in villages, as a way of reassuring residents who were concerned about speeding issues.

When we have the final information that we requested on accident levels we will write to the PCC.

If necessary, this will be followed by a formal complaint.

Newcastle University report for North Yorkshire Police and PCC

So do speed cameras reduce accident levels?

In April the North Yorkshire Crime  and Policing Commisioner (PCC), Julia Mulligan, announced that 6 additional mobile speed camera vans were being deployed in the area. This brought the total n number of vans to 12.

In doing so, she cited a University of Newcastle report which she claimed demonstrated that the mobile speed camera vans had reduced the number of “killed or seriously injured” accidents in the county by 8. 

but had they?

On 13th April The Press reported the PCC as saying, “Over the past three years Newcastle University has conducted studies into North Yorkshire’s killed or seriously injured statistics across 22 local sites and evaluated the effect of the mobile speed camera vans on the level of road safety. The study found that due to the deployment of the vans to those sites there has been a reduction of eight casualties”.

The clear implication of the comment was that a study had been carried out in York and North Yorkshire.

Following a Freedom of Information request the North Yorkshire Police said they didn’t have a copy of any such report.

When pressed, the PCC’s office provided a link to a report on accidents in Northumberland  (click)

The Commissioners office has conceded that the study was in fact carried out in Northumberland. It is unclear how the figures have been extrapolated to support additional expense on deploying more cameras in our North Yorkshire.

What is clear is that the Northumberland report covers a reference period of 18 years during most of which time, in North Yorkshire, there had been a reduction in the number of recorded road accidents anyway.

Mobile speed cameras were first deployed in North Yorkshire  – on a very small scale – in 2010.

NY police continue to resist calls for information on how effective the cameras have been.

They say that – for regularly monitored sites – they do not hold records of the mean, 85% percentile and maximum speeds recorded at each camera visit. Therefore no trends have been identified. They say it would be too expensive to trawl their records to gather the information. Nor do they promise to report the information in future…. meaning that we may never know whether the cameras actually influence traffic speeds.

We also currently don’t know whether the vans are achieving their primary purpose of reducing accident levels. Again the police do  not routinely correlate accident levels on those roads which are subject to routine camera surveillance.

We do know that accident levels generally on our roads have shown a small increase over the last couple of years.

We can understand the eagerness of the PCC to provide high profile “reassurance checks” on speeds in sub-urban areas and villages where local residents raise concerns.

However the large scale deployment of vans at sites which either do not have a poor accident record, or where there is no public concern, will prompt criticism that they are just a self sustaining “cash cow”.

Income from” the speed awareness courses” offered to law breakers, is used to fund the running costs of the vans.

In 2015/16, £1.7 million was received by the police from this source

In our view, the both the Police and the PCC need to be more open about the effects that the millions of pounds invested in this project are actually having.

Hopefully their next annual report will be more transparent.




Disappointment as Police fail to deal with speeding problems in Acomb and Westfield areas

Community Speed Watch

The Acomb and Westfield wards in York appear to have been snubbed as the police today launched a “community speed watch” project.

The Community Speed Watch pilot programme will run at up to 50 sites across York, Harrogate, Selby and Harrogate “where local people have already registered a concern about speeding vehicles”. 

The Police say that the sites are “mainly” residential areas with 30 and 40 mph speed limits.

In York the chosen sites are in Holgate, Strensall, Clifton Moor, Dringhouses and Rawcliffe

However the concerns of residents living on Green Lane and Wetherby Road in the Westfield ward and Beckfield Lane in the Acomb Ward appear to have been overlooked.

A recent survey on Wetherby Road showed nearly 40% of vehicles triggering the 30 mph VAS warning sign.

No consultation with local Councillors appears to have taken place.

In a media release the Police say, “Over the next six months, police volunteers, together with members of the community, will visit the sites with a hand-held radar gun and/or an LED speed sign.  They will record vehicle speeds and anyone caught speeding will receive a letter from North Yorkshire Police informing them of their offence and the need to address driving behaviour.

The main purpose of Community Speed Watch is to draw drivers’ attention to speed limits in areas where communities say it is affecting their quality of life, and to educate them about the effects that anti-social road use can have on local people.  However, North Yorkshire Police will also be keeping a close watch on the recorded data, and may take enforcement measures if a persistent or extreme offender is identified”.

Details of the community speed watch leaflet can be found by clicking here

Our view

We think that using PCSOs and Specials to test speed limit compliance may be a good way to use some of their time.

We don’t see the involvement of local residents in enforcement activity of this sort as being appropriate.

It is potentially confrontational and part of the drift away from sustaining professional public service standards.

York police opinion survey and speed camera locations

Chief Constable Dave Jones and Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire are currently seeking the public’s views on safety cameras and speeding. Members of the public are invited to complete the on online survey which can be found by clicking here .

The survey does have a question on 20 mph speed limits

Enforcement locations for North Yorkshire Police’s mobile safety cameras for week commencing Wednesday 21 May 2014.

Safety camera van The mobile safety cameras will be in operation at the following sites at various times over the coming week. Cameras will not be in use all day, every day. The locations were accurate when this news release was produced.

You can now view the results of the safety camera enforcement activity on our website. Up to date data for the previous week is uploaded every Tuesday which can be interrogated by route and date ranges.
Deployment and results

Due to operating constraints, our mobile safety camera locations may change without prior warning.

  • A1237 Monks Cross, York
  • A64 eastbound Tadcaster by-pass
  • A64 westbound Tadcaster by-pass
  • Skipwith Road, Escrick
  • Brayton Lane, Brayton, Selby
  • Millfield Road, Chapel Haddlesey
  • A63 Cliffe
  • A19 Burn
  • A162 Sherburn by-pass
  • A64 eastbound, Islington, Tadcaster
  • A64 westbound Street Houses, Bilborough
  • A64 westbound Wharfe Bridge, Tadcaster
  • B1228 Dunnington Lodge, Elvington
  • Tadcaster Road, Dringhouses, York
  • Strensall Road, Huntington, York
  • Church Lane, Wheldrake
  • Millfield lane, Poppleton, York
  • Greenshaw Drive, Haxby
  • A64 eastbound, Heslington, York
  • A64 westbound, Heslington, York
  • (more…)

    York crime update

    Mobile safety camera routes week commencing 30 April 2014

    Below are the enforcement locations for North Yorkshire Police’s mobile safety cameras for week commencing Wednesday 30 April 2014.

    The safety cameras are now more visible then ever before with each of the three vehicles bearing the same hi-vis livery as North Yorkshire Police’s marked vehicle fleet.


    Disabled busker racially abused in York city centre

    York police are appealing for witnesses after a disabled man was racially abused in the city centre.

    The victim, an eastern European man aged in his mid to late 20’s who has no legs, was sitting on his skateboard busking on Coney Street when he was approached by a man at around 12pm on Saturday 26 April 2014.


    Poster campaign alerts drivers to cycle safety

    A poster and billboard campaign has begun across North Yorkshire urging motorists to drive with the safety of pedal and motor cyclists in mind.

    The county council, along with North Yorkshire Police, have launched a new ‘Think! Bike campaign with posters and hoardings displayed in urban areas and along popular cycling and motorbike routes. The first billboard went up in Harrogate this week.

    With more cyclists expected to take to the county’s roads in the run-up to the Tour de France, the county council’s road safety team in partnership with the police are running a cyclist and biker awareness campaign aimed at motorists in an attempt to reduce the number of casualties. The purpose is to get motorists to drive with consideration for other road users, especially before turning or changing direction.


    York roads with highest numbers of speeders revealed


    Results from the mobile camera speed camera van, for the first 3 months of 2014, have revealed the  roads on which the highest numbers of Penalty Charge Notices have been issued.

    North Yorks speed camera van

    A total of 747 tickets have been issued to drivers exceeding the 70 mph speed limit on the A64 southern by pass near Heslington and traveling in an eastbound direction.

    527 PCNs were issued to drivers on the same section of road while traveling in a westerly direction.

    The next highest numbers were on Tadcaster Road (85), Strensall Road, Huntington (52) and Dunnington Lodge (23)

    A copy of the results, for the whole county, can be downloaded from here

    Mobile safety camera routes week commencing 23 April 2014

    Below are the enforcement locations for North Yorkshire Police’s mobile safety cameras for week commencing Wednesday 24 April 2014.


    York speed camera locations

    Mobile safety camera routes week commencing 9 April 2014

    Below are the enforcement locations for North Yorkshire Police’s mobile safety cameras for week commencing Wednesday 9 April 2014.

    Safety camera van

    The safety cameras are now more visible then ever before with each of the three vehicles bearing the same hi-vis livery as North Yorkshire Police’s marked vehicle fleet.

    All safety camera locations are published on the force website along with an explanation of the various route types.

    You can view the results of the safety camera enforcement activity on our web page Deployment and results. Up to date data for the previous  week is uploaded every Tuesday and can be interrogated by route and date ranges.

    The mobile safety cameras will be in operation at the following sites at various times over the coming week. Cameras will not be in use all day, every day. The locations were accurate when this news release was produced.