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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 August, 2003, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Policemen beat speeding charges
Speed camera
The signs warning of speed cameras were wrong
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.

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.

There appears to be one law for the police and one for the public
Tony Vickers, Association of British Drivers
"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 obligations.

"By their actions, they have brought the police force and public service into disrepute.

"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 public."

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 replaced.

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 completely ludicrous.

"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 understatement."

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.


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SEE ALSO:
Go slow zones broken by residents
12 Aug 03  |  Norfolk
Scarecrow police stop speeding
07 Aug 03  |  Cornwall
Duke's warning to 'car-mad' daughter
03 Aug 03  |  Tyne/Wear


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