Police hit back in speed camera row

POLICE today hit back in a row over a mobile speed camera’s controversial Wigan location.

A parish councillor accused Greater Manchester Police of being ‘high-handed’ after snapping a picture on his phone showing the Drive Safe Partnership’s vehicle allegedly illegally parked while ‘ticketing’ speeding motorists in Standish.

He was angry that the GMP operated vehicle had two tyres parked on the pavement an the junction of Standish’s Pepper Lane and Robin Hill Drive at a point where it was narrow enough to cause an obstruction for parents with prams and disabled people.

And the van blocked safety road markings warning drivers to ‘SLOW’ for the black spot junction ahead.

Gareth Fairhurst also says he is now considering making an official complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about how officers inside the vehicle allegedly verbally challenged his right to record the vehicle’s location.

But Chief Inspector Mark Dexter of the GMP Road Policing Unit defended the location of the speed camera van and pointed out that residents themselves had asked for police to enforce the speed limits here because of the number of motorists seen speeding.

He said: “We are aware of a complaint made in respect of the positioning of a vehicle used by officers engaged on traffic enforcement duties on Pepper Lane.

“Local residents had raised concerns regarding speeding at this location and whilst not one of our usual enforcement locations, it is right and proper that we respond to the concerns of the community when they go to the trouble of contacting us.

“The officer parked the vehicle partly on the pavement to reduce the risk of vehicles having to pass on the incorrect side of the road whilst also still allowing enough space on the pavement for pedestrians to pass freely.

“If we are to tackle the problem on the road there will inevitably be a need to find a suitable place to park the vehicle so that enforcement can take place, and on this occasion this was the only place that gave the officer sufficient straight line distance to allow the equipment to work.

“All of our staff are aware of the need to select appropriate sites to park the vehicles, the very presence of the vehicle at the location would hopefully have influenced drivers to slow down much in the same way as the markings on the road.”

Speed Camera partnership Drive Safe said: “Our primary aim is to save lives by reducing speed across Greater Manchester, rather than to catch people offending.

“Over the last 10 years, in Greater Manchester, there has been a 44 per cent reduction in casualties and it is important to remember that the effect of speed enforcement is not limited to those sites where safety cameras are used. The visible effect of the safety camera operation encourages people to reduce their speed generally.”