Two police officers who successfully challenged speeding charges because
road signs had an illegal black border should still face disciplinary action, a
council chief said on Wednesday.
The signs warning of speed cameras were wrong
Cleveland Police dropped the case when the officers from the neighbouring
North Yorkshire force were advised by a colleague that road signs warning
drivers about speed cameras on the A171 near Guisborough were incorrect.
The signs, erected by Redcar and Cleveland Council as part of a force-wide
pilot scheme to crack down on speeding, had a black border around a speed camera
logo which infringed the Road Traffic Regulation Act.
It was alleged David Burlingham and Andrew Macfarlane broke the 50mph speed
limit on the road in two separate incidents last summer.
At Guisborough Magistrates Court on Tuesday the officers were told the Crown
Prosecution Service was not offering evidence against them.
Redcar and Cleveland council chief executive David Moore said he was writing
to Della Canning, the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, demanding that
the officers should be disciplined for allegedly breaking the speed limit.
He said the officers used "a petty technicality" to escape punishment.
He added: "Both officers were dealt with by Cleveland Police under the
fixed penalty process.
"These officers then decided to use the knowledge they have as police
officers to use a technicality to wriggle their way out of their social
"By their actions, they have brought the police force and public service
"We hope that the internal disciplinary procedure will be able to act where
the law has failed."
Tony Vickers, of the Association of British Drivers, said that if officers
knew the signs were illegal, the local authority should have been told.
He added: "There appears to be one law for the police and one for the
Redcar and Cleveland Council said the 16 signs it erected - which were
approved by the Government at the start of the speed camera trial - will now be
Issue completely ludicrous
Cabinet leader Councillor Eric Empson said: "When you consider the only
difference between the signs we have been using since 2000 and the current
prescribed sign is just the removal of a black border it makes the whole issue
"The signs are correct, the size correct, the colour is correct and it
correctly describes the speed limit."
John Burke, acting Assistant Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, said: "While
Cleveland Police is not responsible for the manufacture or positioning and
installation of speed signs we are satisfied that the meaning of the signs was
perfectly clear to any motorist.
"The signs have been deemed to be unlawful on a pure administrative
technicality and to say that Cleveland Police is disappointed with this is an
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "If Mr Moore writes to us we will
consider his letter carefully."
Neither Pc Burlingham, 47, nor Pc Macfarlane, 35, wished to comment, a North
Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said.