Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 12:17 UK

Speed police deny hiding tactics

Police officer standing by tree. Pic by Central Scotland News Agency
The officer's hat is just visible between the tree and the nearby bush

A police force has denied its officers hid behind trees during an operation to catch speeding motorists.

The denial comes after photographs of officers from Central Scotland Police emerged during an operation on the A91 in Clackmannanshire last weekend.

One of the pictures shows an officer partially concealed by a tree at the roadside as drivers pass.

Under current guidelines officers are required to alert drivers to their position during speed checks.

The pictures, taken by a local photographer, detail an operation in the village of Dollar last Saturday.

In some of the images officers can be seen standing near passing vehicles.

However, other pictures show them partly obscured by trees and one appears to show a speed radar being held by an officer who is completely hidden from view.

Enforcement tactics

Insp Graeme Allan, of the force's road policing unit, insisted the photographs did not give a driver's perspective of the officers immediately before and after speed detection was carried out.

He said: "While one of the photos shows a hand-held radar, the officers are not carrying out speed detection at that particular moment.

"The photos also do not show officers enforcing hand-held radar detection."

police standing by A91. Pic by csna
Police stand by the roadside during the operation

He said officers would have been visible to drivers and that the local community had urged police action after complaints about speeding in the area.

He added: "This area is within a 30mph limit and has been subject to heavy collision prevention measures.

"At no time would I support any police officer hiding behind a tree or concealed area but in this instance, the officers were visible to drivers."

Peter Rodger, chief examiner at the IAM Motoring Trust, said the issue of whether speed detection officers were visible or not had led to mistrust of some enforcement tactics.

He said: "It's good to see police officers on the road dealing with offenders - but if they are not visible, they are not being as effective at preventing the speeding in the first place.

"Speed enforcement should be about preventing people breaking the speed limit.

"While I can understand the frustration of officers trying to enforce it, hiding in order to catch them leads many drivers to mistrust the enforcement process."

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