Speed cop claims he is powerless

PUBLISHED: 08:05 02 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:50 03 March 2010

AN OUTRAGED Suffolk policeman claims he is powerless to stop thousands of speeding drivers who are getting away with breaking the law thanks to blunders.

AN OUTRAGED Suffolk policeman claims he is powerless to stop thousands of speeding drivers who are getting away with breaking the law thanks to blunders.

Speed Enforcement Officer, PC Mike Rayner, said at five of the 10 most dangerous blackspots in the county _ and 37 sites in total _ his speed gun is completely useless because errors with the 30mph signage system make it illegal for him to prosecute drivers.

He accused Suffolk County Council highways bosses of consistently failing to deal with the problem, which leaves him unable to stamp out the menace of speeding on roads with appalling crash records.

The policeman has written to the county council six times about the matter, but said this week he discovered nothing had changed despite highways assurances 90% of the defective sign problems had been rectified.

Now, he has written to West Suffolk MP Richard Spring in a bid to highlight the issue, which he believes will ultimately cost lives.

But in a joint statement Suffolk County Council and Suffolk police claimed they had been working together to resolve the "very complex" issues with some speed restrictions in the county.

PC Rayner said: "I have been banging my head against a brick wall for two years. I just can't get the council to do what they're supposed to do by law – to properly maintain the speed limit signs.

"I'm so frustrated and sick of this. I can't allow it to go on any longer. It's absolutely ludicrous – nothing is being done at all.

"The whole point of speed campaigns and our cameras is to save lives – it's not a revenue raising exercise."

He said the main problem was the inaccurate placing of 30mph repeater signs, which must be erected within 200 metres of the main signs. Further repeaters have to be placed at intervals of 250 metres on alternative sides of the road or in pairs either side of the road at 400-metre intervals.

Of the 75 Suffolk sites targeted by police speed cameras, 37 have defective signs, according to PC Rayner.

"I'm legally not allowed to operate my camera if these signs are defective. It would be a neglect of duty and malicious prosecution."

He believes 3,000 drivers who would have been stopped at the 10 most dangerous blackspots in the county have got away with speeding in the past year alone because of the problem.

Responding to PC Rayner's comments, the joint police and council statement said: "We have now jointly arrived at a position that both the county council and police can work with. The county council and the police have agreed procedures to make highways officers aware of problems with signing to ensure that these are rectified as soon as possible to allow the police to get on with enforcing speed limits.

"We recently held a site meeting with a resident and the police to discuss speeding in Lackford. On Friday we intend to put up extra repeater signs in the village to ensure the speed limits will be enforceable by the police."

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