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Last Updated: Friday, 9 January, 2004, 08:11 GMT
Warning letters for speeders
Richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable of North Wales Police
Richard Brunstrom takes a tough stance on speeding
Drivers who are caught speeding in the North Wales Police force area, but who were not going fast enough to be fined, can expect letter telling them they have broken the law.

The Welsh force - which has come under considerable criticism for its hard-line stance against speeding drivers - is the first in the UK to take the step.

A motorist can expect a 60 fine and three penalty points on the licence if caught doing 38mph or more in a 30mph zone in the force area.

But, until recently, if a motorist was clocked at 37mph in the same zone, nothing would be done.

Now, however, drivers who are caught doing 37mph are being sent stern letters warning them that they, too, are breaking the law.

Last month alone, as many as 500 warning letters were sent out.

The organisation which operates the cameras - Arrive Alive - has explained that the letters are aimed at getting people to slow down, and teaching road-users the dangers of speeding.

William Shaw, picture courtesy Andrew Price
Mr Shaw believes his punishment was 'draconian'
But the Chief Constable of North Wales, Richard Brunstrom, has already admitted that the thresholds at which drivers get fined are under review and he would like to see them reduced.

Mr Brunstrom's tough line on law-breaking motorists has put his force under the spotlight several times in recent months.

In December a retired bank manager who became embroiled in a speeding row with him called for his resignation.

William Shaw, 71, was angered when chief constable Richard Brunstrom called a news conference to attack him after he complained about a speeding conviction in July.

The pensioner has written a detailed complaint against Mr Brunstrom to the North Wales Police Authority's professional standards committee which will consider the matter next month.

Mr Shaw lost a 50-year clean driving record when a speed camera in Flintshire caught driving at 39mph in a 30mph zone earlier this year.

He claimed in court his prosecution was unfair and said North Wales Police had misused their power.

Mr Shaw, from Llangollen, said he was pleading guilty in the hope magistrates would reject the case.

He is now calling for a public apology from the chief constable and his resignation.

In court he claimed he had completed a safe driving manoeuvre and police were hitting "soft targets" like him.

Magistrates fined Mr Shaw 60, with 30 costs and three penalty points, and said they had "every sympathy" with him.

Speaking at the time Mr Brunstrom said the pensioner had been "irresponsible" and was "misleading the public."

Mr Shaw's complaint against Mr Brunstrom will be discussed when the committee meet in January.

Members will meet in private with neither the chief constable nor Mr Shaw present.

A spokesman for the police authority said members will decide "if the complaint can be dealt with or if it has to be dealt with by an outside investigator."

Mr Brunstrom has been heavily criticised for his zero-tolerance policy against speeding motorists who he has described as "anti-social" and "criminals".




SEE ALSO:
Driver's anger at camera 'misuse'
07 Jul 03  |  North West Wales
Speeding policy under scrutiny
21 Dec 03  |  Wales
Ex-officer fined for speeding
05 May 03  |  North East Wales
Speed cameras cut incidents
27 May 02  |  Wales
Speeding councillor caught on own camera
24 Jun 03  |  Staffordshire


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