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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 November, 2004, 17:36 GMT
'Speeders' invited to appeal
Mobile speed cameras
More than 6,000 speeding motorists will receive letters
Police are writing to thousands of motorists in north Wales charged with speeding to tell them they may be able to have their cases reopened.

It follows a legal ruling last month that some police statements did not meet legal requirements.

Drivers who denied speeding will be allowed to have their cases looked at.

The letters were approved by North Wales Police Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom who has caused controversy with his tough anti-speeding policy.

In the past Mr Brunstrom has branded speeders "criminals" and "anti-social"

We suspended the use of scanned officer signatures immediately
Superintendent Michele Williams

Last month, a judge at Mold Crown Court ruled that some statements which contained scanned and not original signatures of police officers were not legal.

The use of scanned signatures from officers was introduced by North Wales Police to reduce the administrative burden on police officers.

Around 6,500 motorists will receive letters in all including every driver caught speeding by a mobile camera since 6 June 2004.

Not all of them will have a right of appeal and people who pleaded guilty will not be affected by the ruling.

However, those who pleaded not guilty and were convicted may have the right to have their cases reopened if the officer operating the camera was not in court.

All penalties and convictions including any disqualification will stand until a case is overturned.

'Obsession'

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas said he does not think everyone who receives a letter will have their conviction overturned.

"It's very unfortunate that it's happened. I don't think it'll mean 6,500 people will be able to appeal against the conviction," he said.

"I'm surprised North Wales Police did not read the statements and sign them."

However, he said that he broadly supported the need to crackdown on speeding motorists.

"It's a serious offence. Even if you go a few miles over the limit you can cause death," he added.

North Wales Police said they decided to write to everyone who received a summons since the procedure for scanning signatures was introduced "in the interests of transparency and fairness."

"Whilst not everyone who receives a letter is directly affected, given the publicity this matter has generated, I believe people deserve clarity in respect of their position," said Superintendent Michele Williams.

"We suspended the use of scanned officer signatures immediately following the judgement and officers now physically read and sign their statements.

"North Wales Police will continue to explore the use of technology in preparing case files in order to reduce the administrative burden on police officers and free them for patrol," she added.

Earlier this month, the force's chief constable Richard Brunstrom admitted he had an "obsession" with tackling speeding motorists.

But giving evidence to giving evidence to MPs on the Welsh affairs select committee at Westminster, the police chief denied his obsession came at the expense of more serious crimes.




SEE ALSO:
Driver's anger at camera 'misuse'
07 Jul 03 |  North West 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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