Dog wardens given £10,000 hand-held speed cameras in road safety trial caught so many drivers police couldn’t cope
- Trial giving dog wardens powers to catch speeding drivers will not be rolled out
- Workers in Maldon, Essex caught too many motorists and put pressure on courts
- Essex Police handed powers to local council and it saw 1,302 prosecutions
- The force says it will not be rolling out the trail any further because they don’t have the resources
A trial in which dog wardens were handed police speed cameras will not be rolled out after too many motorists were caught driving over the limit.
Workers in Maldon, Essex were trained how to use the £4,000 Trucam handheld cameras, and they helped prosecute more than 1,300 drivers.
Essex Police had handed over the responsibility to the local council, but the success put too much strain on the force and courts.
Assistant chief constable Andy Prophet says the gadgets must stay with police after the team in sleepy in Maldon caught 1563 drivers, resulting in 1302 prosecutions, in just 12 months.
Assistant chief constable Andy Prophet says the gadgets must stay with police after the team in sleepy in Maldon caught 1563 drivers, resulting in 1302 prosecutions, in just 12 months (stock image)
They team usually deal with stray dogs, litter and graffiti – but now also man 54 speeding hot spots.
Police-accredited powers allow them to issue fixed penalty notices and penalty points to speeders.
In a report to the county’s crime commissioner Mr Prophet said: ‘The extension of powers to enable more than just warranted officers to enforce speed offences on allows for targeting of key areas across communities that Roads Policing officers may have not ordinarily been able to get to.
‘This however does come with an increased workload for the process support unit at Billericay.
‘The additional prosecutions place extra demand on the staff and ultimately the courts.
Workers in Maldon, Essex (pictured) were trained how to use the £4,000 Trucam handheld cameras, and they helped prosecute more than 1,300 drivers
‘There is currently one court per week. These alternate between Colchester and Southend. We have 165 court spaces at each court which run to capacity.
‘Any additional speed enforcement that result in a prosecution could outstrip court availability. This is being monitored.’
And he added: ‘No further group outside of Essex Police will be trained in the use of TruCAM until such time capacity within the Process Support Unit and through the judicial system has been established.’
Teams in three other councils will be trained how to use the cameras as work has started – but after that it will not be rolled out any further.
Maldon District Council will keep its cameras and may purchase another with its own funds.
The TruCAMs enable officers to pick out a single vehicle in two lanes of traffic and records pictures as well as video.
Despite the extra cases a spokesman for the courts said there had been no request for extra court time.
A HM Courts and Tribunals spokesman said: ‘While we’ve not received a request for more time to hear road traffic offences from Essex Police, we will continue to work with them on any additional demand.’
Essex councillor Jo McPherson , who has helped run a speed watch group since 2013, said the technology is invaluable.
She said: ‘The TruCAMs are incredible. They are capable of taking photos so can catch more offences.
‘As long as volunteers were given the training, I think it would be great to be rolled out further.’