Clause 2

Part of Road Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 20th January 2005.

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Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport 2:45 pm, 20th January 2005

If the hon. Gentleman has not already done so, I suggest that he visits his local safety camera partnership to see how it operates when it receives the film. Having seen that myself, I know that the person who looks at the film is highly trained. They must determine whether the equipment shows that someone was speeding and must look into other circumstances, such as the proximity of other vehicles. When there is close proximity of two vehicles, there may be confusion as to which vehicle triggered the light and I understand that there can be issues of the beam bouncing from one vehicle to another. The person who looks at the film uses discretion to ensure that cases are clear-cut when the penalty notices are   sent out. When I visited the safety camera partnership, a large number of cases—about 20 per cent. at a guess—were thrown out because the operator decided that they were not satisfied that the matter could not be challenged if the recipient of the penalty notice took the matter to court and the film was shown to the magistrates.

On the other side in the Department, someone told us that he had been unfairly dealt with and we suggested that he send for the film. The guy sent the film to me and said it was disgraceful that he had been prosecuted, but it seemed to me that he had been travelling faster than indicated on his ticket. He claimed that a car nearby had set off the camera, but there was manifestly no other car in the photograph. The photographic evidence is available to the person who is accused of offending and could show that there was doubt, but it often puts the case beyond doubt. If someone feels that there is doubt, they can go to court and if the court feels that the evidence in front of it is not good enough, the magistrates or the judge can call the proceedings to an end.