Edinburgh Evening News Mon 26 Dec 2005
New figures show Lothian and Borders officers...
New figures show Lothian and Borders officers are among the worst in the UK for speeding. Picture: Toby Williams
Boy racer cops caught on film
MORE than six police officers are caught speeding every day in Lothian and Borders. New figures released today reveal that officers in Edinburgh and surrounding areas are among the worst in Britain for being caught exceeding speed limits by their own cameras.
But despite the huge number of police drivers being snared, just three drivers of unmarked cars received speeding fines. Nine cases are still pending.
And while there were 2272 cases of marked police cars being detected speeding in Lothian and Borders
in 2004, not one single uniformed officer was charged with a driving offence.
A further 78 unmarked cars were also caught by speed cameras the same year.
The figures fail to disclose how many fatalities or serious road accidents involving civilians and emergency vehicles occurred over the same period.
A senior police board member today called for the force to justify each incident where an officer was caught breaking the speed limit.
A police spokeswoman said the force deals with thousands of incidents in built-up areas that require a blue light and speedy response, which may have set off speed cameras.
She said: "Lothian and Borders Police respond to a high volume of incidents across what is a very busy working and residential city.
"The public expect the police to respond quickly and safely to incidents and as such there are occasions when police will set off speed cameras.
"Speed cameras are monitored by the Speed Camera Partnership and they would contact the force's chief constable if there was an incident where a speed camera had been set off at any time other than during an emergency call."
The new figures, compiled by the Press Association, are based on the number of full-time officers registered with the Home Office in July 2005.
Some forces declined to provide data, while others failed to disclose speeding incidents where the vehicle was known to be on an emergency call. Lothian and Borders has provided details of both.
With a rate of 0.82 speeding incidents per officer, the Edinburgh-based force was fourth in the UK-wide table, behind Essex - with 3.26 speeding incidents per officer - Bedfordshire and Staffordshire.
Councillor Eric Milligan, convener of the police board, said he will raise the issue with the chief constable.
"It is right and proper that officers deliver a prompt response to any emergencies," he said.
"However, if there is any suggestion that police officers are flouting the speed restrictions in the city, I would be very concerned - as would the chief constable. I will ask him for further information."
Councillor Shami Khan, a police board member, said officers need to justify the speed at which they are driving if caught by a camera.
But he added: "In the vast majority of these cases, police officers will have responded to an emergency call and the public expect them to be there as quickly as possible.
"The officers should not put other people's safety at risk, however accidents do sometimes happen when vehicles are speeding. Any time a police car is travelling above the limit, the driver needs to justify why.
But because they have a responsibility to react to emergencies very quickly, that is a justification. I would be the first person to criticise the force if its officers were doing anything wrong."
Although local officers topped the list in Scotland, Strathclyde Police was unable to reveal how many of its emergency vehicles have been caught speeding. However, seven of its officers were dealt with for speeding offences over the last financial year.
The Metropolitan Police, the UK's largest force, had an identical rate of speeding as Lothian and Borders, with 25,484 officers detected over a 12-month period, from more than 31,000 officers.
* Cash for coppers
This article: http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=2460742005
Last updated: 27-Dec-05 10:31 GMT