Northants speed cameras are switched off despite high levels of speed violations

Instead of using fixed cameras, Northamptonshire Police now rely on mobile speed cameras, because all the speed cameras in the county were decommissioned in July 2011. The mobile speed cameras are run by local police and speed-safety officers to help keep the roads safer. While these cameras are often mounted on marked vans, they can also be fitted to unmarked cars, as well as manually operated by officers on foot.

According to the most recent available data from the Northamptonshire Police, the Safer Roads Team monitors sections of the A605 at Barnwell and Thrapston on a monthly basis.

In January 2021, mobile cameras were set up on the A605 at Barnwell in the 60mph section where 27 people were caught speeding; 19 were travelling over 10mph above the speed limit. Later in the month on 22 January, mobile speed cameras set up in the 40mph zone on the A605 by the Thrapston bypass caught 80 people; 31 were going over 10mph above the speed limit. Seven hours in total were spent monitoring the A605 in January.

In February, the police set up camera traps on the A605 on four different days, three of which were on the 60mph section near Barnwell. At this section, 28 people were caught speeding; 20 of those were over 70mph. In the 40mph section near Thrapston, 60 people were caught; 22 were over 50mph. The police spent eight and a half hours monitoring the A605 in February.

In March, the police only spent just over four hours over two days on the A605, during which they caught 12 people on the 60mph section. Of those, nine were going above 70 – the highest speed being 82mph.

Finally, in April, the police caught 119 people speeding over ten hours of surveillance. 55 were going 10 mph above the speed limit, including someone going 106mph in the 60mph area near Barnwell.

According to research by Road Safety Analysis, there is no need to turn on speed cameras because having sight of the cameras influences behaviour and makes drivers more cautious. Their research indicates that there has been a reduction in road deaths.

However, if so many drivers are caught speeding on two short sections of the A605 over a few days, there must be hundreds more who every day routinely speed down roads without fear of any fines.

This suggests that if the police wanted to reduce the amount of speeding that takes place on roads such as the A605, there should be speed cameras, or more police presence by the side of the road.

However, given that the decommissioned cameras are succeeding in their job of reducing road deaths, there is an argument that it is not necessary to turn them back on.

Robert Brettle
May 2021