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24 March, 2016

Rural policing further boosted with increase in Safety Camera Vehicles

In order to increase safety on North Yorkshire’s roads and to help tackle rural crime, Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan, has today (24 March 2016) announced an increase in safety camera vehicles, which will be located at different rural bases around the county.

The commissioner made the announcement as she published the first annual report about the use of safety camera vehicles in the county.
Saving lives, preventing injury. The use of safety camera vans in North Yorkshire 2014-15

The full Decision Notice which supports her announcement can be seen here:
10/2016: Expansion of Safety Camera Vehicles to improve road safety and keep rural communities safer

The decision to expand the number of Safety Camera Vehicles is based on:

  • Tackling rural and cross-border crime
  • Continuing to improve road safety, particularly as rural roads are less safe than their urban counterparts
  • Addressing concerns expressed by rural communities and others for an agile service that can be based at more sites of community concern
  • Increasing the visibility of the police in the community as a deterrent
  • Bringing North Yorkshire’s road safety equipment provision into line with other similar Forces

SCV-full-coverTo this end, it is proposed that six new, more ‘agile’ vehicles will be added to the Safety Camera Vehicle fleet, taking it to 12 vehicles in total.  Speeding through villages and other communities is one of the most consistent concerns raised by the public. These new vans will be specifically designed and deployed predominately in rural areas to support rural communities.

They will carry Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, so they can be used to tackle wider issues of anti-social road use, and cross-border criminality, which is a significant issue in many rural communities.

Having a larger fleet will also raise police visibility (which can be a deterrent to criminals), provide community reassurance, and allow the police to increase the number of hours on operational duty.

The six new vehicles will be smaller than the current vans, which makes them especially suitable for deployment in rural locations.  At present, the existing fleet cannot be used on many country roads, because they require a certain amount of hard-standing to be stationed safely.  This is less of a requirement on the new smaller vehicles, so they can be used in a wider range of locations, including on roads that are currently unsuitable for the existing camera safety fleet. As a result, more communities than before will be able to benefit from the positive impact that camera safety vehicles provide.

In road safety terms, the number of fatalities on North Yorkshire’s roads has reduced by around a third since 2010 when safety camera vans were first piloted in the region, whilst the number of serious injuries has reduced by more than 20 percent.  Whilst as yet there is no academic research to attribute these reductions solely to the introduction of safety camera vehicles, there is a strong likelihood that they have made a significant contribution.

Commenting on the new vehicles Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said, “The issue most often raised with me is road safety, particularly speeding through villages and other local communities.  These new vehicles will mean we can better improve road safety, continue to see the numbers of people hurt or killed reduce and support even more communities who have road safety concerns.

“Fitting the vehicles with ANPR, and basing them in our rural areas, means we can also better disrupt travelling criminals by tracking their movements and preventing crime.

“Given the scale of the road network in North Yorkshire and the still too many people who die on our roads, as well as those drivers causing misery to others, I am very pleased to be able to invest in this important area of education and enforcement.”

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, national lead for policing on BikeSafe, said “We welcome the decision to increase the numbers of safety camera vans on North Yorkshire’s roads. Since the introduction of the safety cameras, we have seen the number of fatalities and casualties on our roads reduce and we are looking forward to seeing more positive results. Ultimately, safety cameras help save families and communities against the appalling devastation of losing a loved one suddenly and violently.

“The fact we can extend the reassurance the safety cameras bring to the more rural communities of our region is great news. With the smaller vans being able to be deployed to those more remote areas and equipped with ANPR capability, we can police our borders more effectively against cross border crime and successfully protect those more vulnerable due to their location, from travelling criminals.”