Police launch speeding crackdown in Portsmouth's 20mph zones
15 October 2009
By Alex Forsyth and Rory O'Keeffe
Speeding motorists are being targeted in a blitz on drivers flouting Portsmouth's 20mph limit.
Police caught 72 people breaking the limit using a hand-held laser camera at three speed hotspots in a single morning.
And motorists are being warned that the operation is part of an ongoing campaign to get tough on drivers who flout the controverADVERTISEMENT
It is the first time Hampshire Safer Roads Partnership – which controls the region's speed cameras – has agreed to enforce the lower limit since it was introduced in May 2007.
Until now police have only dished out fines if they spot anyone speeding – meaning just 50 tickets were issued in six months last year.
Now a series of enforcement days are set to take place where police will lie in wait with hand-held cameras at surprise locations.
Portsmouth City Council, which was criticised for bringing in the limit by people who said it was unworkable, has persuaded the partnership to provide one dedicated officer to patrol city streets – often armed with a mobile camera.
The partnership has also stumped up £10,000 for four new vehicle-activated speed signs which flash to warn drivers of the limit.
Councillor Lynne Stagg, Portsmouth City Council's Lib Dem cabinet member for traffic and transport, said: 'This is not about making money, it's about changing people's attitude to speed.
'We have very narrow streets with lots of parked cars.
'And if you have an accident at 20mph it is unlikely someone will get killed or seriously injured.
'The vehicle-activated signs are working very well, and I am sure this will have an impact as people don't want to get caught.'
On Monday officers from Cosham Roads Policing Unit and the speed partnership stopped drivers on Moorings Way, Mayfield Road and Kirby Road.
Motorists who were caught could either attend a road safety presentation or pay a fine of £60 and have three penalty points on their licence.
One person was also fined for having no insurance, one for no seat belt and another for a defective tyre.
Sergeant Jason Kirby, from the Safer Roads Partnership, said: 'This is the second of these educational and enforcement initiatives on the 20mph roads in Portsmouth.
'We will be running them on a regular basis until drivers change their behaviour and keep to the limits.'
Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson last year threatened to pull out of Hampshire Safer Roads Partnership.
He said the city was not getting good value in return for its £240,100 yearly contribution, partly because the partnership relied heavily on seven fixed cameras in Portsmouth. These do not enforce the 20mph limit.
Now the partnership is using a host of anti-speed devices, including mobile cameras and vehicle-activated speed signs.
The move prompted the city council to sign up for another year.
Last month a Department of Transport report found that Ports- mouth's 20mph zones had hardly any effect on drivers. But the council says they are a long-term project that will change driving culture in the city.