Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Wednesday, 7 December 2005

Figures reveal 'speeding police'

Essex Police vehicles were caught on speed cameras more than 5,000 times in the first six months of 2005, a BBC Look East investigation has revealed.

During that time there are no recorded cases of Essex officers being disciplined for speeding offences.

In Suffolk and Beds, 19 officers had their licences endorsed with three penalty points and were fined £60.

Essex Police said any officers who "activated a safety camera... did so for an entirely legitimate purpose".

The information was revealed after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was made.

Using the FOIA the BBC asked forces in the East - including Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Suffolk - for details on speeding police staff.

Essex, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire provided figures.

'Emergency response'

Norfolk and Northamptonshire said they did not hold the details, and Cambridgeshire refused the request on the grounds that it would take too long for them to find the information.

The findings of the BBC survey follow.

  • In Essex between January and June 2005, 5,070 marked police cars and 199 unmarked cars activated speed cameras. But in the majority of cases they will be cars responding to emergencies, an Essex Police spokesman said.
  • In Suffolk between April 2004 and March 2005, 40 officers while on duty were caught speeding. Of those 27 were on their way to incidents and were not prosecuted, while 13 officers were issued with fixed penalty tickets for speeding.
  • In Bedfordshire between April 2004 and March 2005, 2,519 police vehicles were found to be speeding, mostly cars responding to emergency incidents. Six police officers and two members of staff had their licences endorsed with three penalty points and were fined £60.
  • Hertfordshire Police said in 2004 there was one incident of a marked police car being sent a penalty notice for speeding on a non-blue light call. An investigation found that the police exemption did apply in this case.
  • An Essex Police spokesman said: "We are entirely satisfied that any Essex Police vehicle which has activated a safety camera in the period in question did so for an entirely legitimate purpose."



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