Top cop's view of Chideock speed camera loophole

8:38am Thursday 2nd July 2009
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By Dan Goater »

A TOP police officer today insisted ‘you were still breaking the limit’ as motorists challenged speed camera convictions at Chideock.
Bridport section commander Alan Jenkins stressed the importance of speed limits after a traffic order regulating a safety camera at Chideock was found to be wrongly worded – opening the floodgates for some 24,000 motorists to claim their money back on a legal technicality.
But he also pointed out that none of the drivers protesting about the fines had denied they were exceeding the village’s 30mph speed limit.
In a statement, he said: “While it is entirely understandable why people will seek to have their penalties overturned it may also be appropriate to look at the primary reason the cameras are sited there in the first place.
“As local Section Commander it is not appropriate for me to comment on the moral and ethical aspects of this issue.”
He added: “The speed limit of 30mph is entirely correct and necessary to provide protection to all road users.
“In blunt terms, inappropriate speed kills people.
“From the press coverage that I have seen, none of the people penalised by the Chideock camera have denied that they were driving faster than 30mph.”
Motorists are seeking money back and points wiped out after a Government review found a traffic regulation order was worded with a wrong street name.
One of the motorists to have been caught in the legal loophole, Weymouth-based shipwright Nicholas Hoare, said Alan Jenkins was ‘clearly not happy’ about the situation.
Mr Hoare, 58, of Greenhill, added: “I’m not a fast driver and I was only going a couple of miles over the limit when I was caught anyway.
“From that point of view I think the speed camera in Chideock is rotten because it’s right at the bottom of a hill.
“If the boot was on the other foot and I owed the police money, technicality or not, they would be pursuing me.”
Mr Hoare added: “You could also argue that everyone who signed to say they were speeding has been duped into doing so. In a way, we’ve all been fooled and I’m sure there are thousands of people nationally, who were just driving through Chideock while on holiday, who are still none the wiser.”