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          Speed Awareness Scheme

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Association of Chief Police Officers

National Driver Offender Re-Training Schemes (NDORS)

National Speed Awareness Course
Guidance Notes
Version 1.9


1 PREFACE
1.1 Introduction
1.1.1. The National Speed Awareness Course has been born out of the success of the National Driver Improvement Scheme. The fundamental point of any course is that education, as an alternative to prosecution, must be based on a driver’s mistake, rather than a reckless or intentional act, with the objective that the offender benefits from the course and from thereon this ultimately contributes to road and community safety, with potential environmental benefits.

1.1.2. The National Speed Awareness Courses are run in the same vein, involving low-end speed offenders where local Chief Constables decide to implement training within these guidelines.The National Speed Awareness Course finds its legal authority in the discretion entrusted to the police, who decide whether to instigate proceedings for offences. The scheme is not intended to usurp the courts’ authority, but is intended to address drivers’ attitudes and behaviour towards inappropriate driving speeds, which in turn leads to a reduction in reoffending and ultimately contributes towards road safety and a better quality of life.

1.1.3. The Department for Transport (DfT) sponsored a significant research project into the methodology of re-educating speeding motorists. This culminated in the publication of the DfT's report No 66 of 2006 entitled "Effective Interventions for Speeding Motorists". The course is an alternative to prosecution, for all speed bands and classes of vehicle speeds, except 20 mph zones. Previous driving history will not be taken into account when making this offer.

1.1.4. Attendance on the course attracts a fee payable by the offender, who has to give time and effort to attend. The course may vary from force to force, as some forces will adopt the theory only element of four hours’ duration whereas others will prefer the practical element that involves up to another 90 minutes to accommodate the on-road session. The course will cater for all classes of drivers and there will be no discrimination regarding age, ability, language, ethnic origin or ability 1.1.5. The National Speed Awareness Course will allow offenders, who admit the offence of speeding, to be offered a course in the area of their choice, providing the county or force in question has adopted the National Scheme.

NDORS - NATIONAL SPEED AWARENESS COURSE - GUIDANCE NOTES

1.1.6. The thresholds under which the courses will operate have been laid down by ACPO and are at the prosecution threshold of 10% +2 mph to a maximum of 10% +9 mph over the statutory limit. However it is a bandwidth within which a police force may consider diverting an offender and this does not remove local decision-making using the attendant circumstances which may well warrant an alternative method of disposal, such as taking no further action, a warning letter, conditional offer a fixed penalty, or summons.

2 GUIDANCE, ADVICE AND PROCEDURES

2.1 Intention

2.1.1. It is the intention of the National Speed Awareness Course to remove from the Criminal Justice System those drivers who, by driving error, have offended against the speed limits contained within the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 and other similar legislation at a low level. Educational courses should be offered at an approved centre of the offenders choice, provided the course offered complies with the national standard and the course provider is contracted to a police force that has agreed to join the national collaborative arrangement. The course must cater for all classes of drivers and there will be no discrimination regarding age, ability, language, or ethnic origin.

2.2 The National Speed Awareness Course

2.2.1. There are two different types of National Speed Awareness Courses - a theory only and a theory and practical course.

2.2.2. Individual forces will decide whether to engage the theory or the theory and practical elements of the course.

2.3 Charges for the Course

2.3.1. This scheme is not primarily commercial, but it has been recognised that there will be variations in the amount charged across each police force due to local costs and conditions. On financial considerations it should always be a more viable option than a fine and penalty points, as otherwise this may attract an unnecessary refusal of the offer of the course and reduce the road safety gains possible from education.

2.3.2. The conditions for attending are that offender pays for the course and agrees to their details to be placed on a national database (PENTIP DORS) so as to preclude them from a futher course for three years from the date of the offence, and to actively participate and complete the whole course.

2.4 Method

2.4.1. Offenders suitable for the courses may come to notice through Safety Camera Partnerships or by officer roadside enforcement using traditional means.

2.4.2. Offenders caught on camera within the agreed course speed thresholds may be considered suitable for the offer of a Speed Awareness Course, provided certain criteria are met. The decision to offer an offender a course will be the responsibility of the decision-maker in the force concerned.

2.4.3. If the offender commits an offence in a force area where they operate theory and practical courses, if the offender chooses to take the course in another area where it is theory only, it is inappropriate to insist the offender must undertake the theory and practicalcourse. . Conversly, if a client elects to undertake the course at a venue where the course comprises of theory and practical, the client must undertake both elements of the course and pay the appropriate fee, even though the force where the offence was committed only operates a theory only course.

2.4.4. The service providers must guarantee to process all offenders who have been referred by their contracting force as a matter of priority as well as accomodating offenders from outside the contracting force. All offenders must be accommodated on a course so they can complete this within a maximum time of four months of the date of the offence however Police forces are free to decide if a shorter period is appropriate comensurate with local requirments. Force’s must cater for additional processes to take place to enforce the offence should the course offer elapse using due process withn the statutory 6 months limitation of proceedings.

2.4.5. Where the driver has not accepted or been identified within four months of the date of the offence then the offer of a National Speed Awareness Course is not appropriate and normal process should take precidence.

2.4.6. Police Officers should refer offenders to the scheme if they meet the force criteria so there cannot be inconsistency of disposals between automatic camera and police officer detected offences. The criteria should be the same for police officers as it is for safety cameras. However, a police officer is always aware of the attendant aggravating or mitigating circumstances around the offence so they may make a more informed decision and recommendation.

2.5 Operational Considerations

2.5.1. Speeds up to and including 10%+9mph are suitable for a police force to implement National Speed Awareness Courses. Each force will set an enforcement level where action will be taken (training) and above this a prosecution level where FPN or summons will be the outcome. Nothing in this document will stop a prosecution under 10%+9mph, or no action, if the situation is appropriate

2.5.2. A police officer who witnesses an offence is in a much better position to decide whether a course is appropriate than a decision-maker viewing a camera photograph. For this reason it is accepted that Any offender, outside the forces set enforcment level, could be offered speed diversion so long as the speed was within the scheme criteria of 10%+2mph to 10%+9mph (ie the same as a safety camera). The officer may well be using a speed detection device or a safety camera in this circumstance; the important issue is the witnessing of the offence and surrounding conditions.

2.5.3. National Speed Awareness Courses must not be offered to a driver if the offence is committed in a 20mph zone or limit.

2.6 Decision-Making Process

2.6.1. Decision-makers should consider the following before recommending an offender is offered a place on a National Speed Awareness Course:
• That the offender is exceeding the speed limits as defined in the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 and other regulations that are appropriate.

• Their evidence will satisfy part one of the full code test for Crown Prosecutors.

• There are no other offences being dealt with by way of prosecution.

• The driver must be the holder of a full or provisional driving licence.

• A course can only be offered if it can be taken up and completed within the time limits set by the referring force, normally no more than four months from the date of the offence.

• A course cannot be offered within three years of any previous offence that was dealt with by a National Speed Awareness Course.
2.6.2. There will be occasions where an offender is considered for an offer of a National Speed Awareness Course within the life of an existing uncompleted course. If this is the case the second offer will be regarded as inappropriate and the conditional offer or summons process will deal with the second offence.

2.7 Mitigating Circumstances

2.7.1. There may be occasions when, due to extreme mitigating circumstances, a National Speed Awareness Course may be offered albeit it is outside of the normal 10% plus 9mph parameters.

2.7.2. In such circumstances and, by exception, the mitigation must be corroborated by strong evidence. Additionally, the decision-maker must apply several tests:
• possible discretion any police officer would have used had the offence been detected by an officer present at the time, and;

• The full code test for the Crown Prosecution Service (particularly the public interest factor) must also be considered when deciding whether or not to use a National Speed Awareness Course as an appropriate intervention other than no further action, conditional offer or summons.
2.7.3. In assessing this disposal a decision-maker may also take into account the Magistrates’ discretion on penalties. If the mitigation is so strong that were the offender to appear before Magistrates as an option of first choice, the Magistrates who have the power to listen to special reasons as to why the offender should not receive a fine and penalty points, would be likely to accept the special reasons and
• not endorse the person’s licence or award penalty points,

• potentially offer an absolute discharge to a guilty plea, Then a National Speed Awareness Course offer must be an appropriate intervention before consideration of a conditional offer or court appearance.
2.8 Internal Process

2.8.1. Due to the diverse working practices in each force and the relationships with the Safety Camera Partnerships and variations on processing software, each force must decide on the internal process to be engaged in the administration of the offer.

2.8.2. Any negotiations between the offender and the service provider regarding course dates, fees and so forth will not be the responsibility of the police. Any such matters will be addressed to the respective service provider.

2.8.3. Whatever administrative process is engaged, all reasonable steps must be taken to alleviate the chance that an offender accepts the offer of a speed awareness course and also electing to pay the conditional offer at the same time.

2.9 Driving Licence Validity

2.9.1. It is incumbent on the referring Police Force to ensure that the offender is the holder of a valid driving licence prior to referral to the service provider. This responsibility is NOT transferable to the service provider. This includes those offenders who hold a non-UK Licence but have validity to drive the class of vehicle they were detected in at the time of the offence.

2.9.2. It will be a requirement to produce a photocard driving licence or other photographic material as proof of identification on attending a course. (For courses with a practical element it will be a requirement to produce a photocard driving licence and the counterpart as proof of identification on attending a course. Service providers will not examine points on any driving licence. If a Photocard driving licence cannot be produced a paper licence will be required together with other photographic identification.)

2.9.3. There may be cases where the offender’s licence has elapsed or the offender has become disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence to drive. In these cases it will still be appropriate for the offender to be offered a course but they will not be allowed to drive to achieve the practical element of the course and may sit in the vehicle as an observer. The DVLA produces information to assist decision-makers to establish the validity of a driving licence. For further information please visit this link: http://www.dvla.gov.uk/media/pdf/leaflets/inf38.pdf

2.10 Non-UK Licence Holders

2.10.1. With effect from April 2009, the Road Safety Act 2006 allows for the introduction of Roadside Deposits for offenders who do not furnish the officer with a satisfactory UK address. At the same time the Act opens up the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 so as to allow a non-GB licence holder to be given a fixed penalty with penalty points.

The strict statutory limitations on time for the processing of these roadside deposits mitigate against the offer of a National Speed Awareness Course.

National Speed Awareness Courses will not be used as a disposal option for any offence where there is a requirement for a roadside deposit. These offences will be dealt with by the other processes that are available i.e. Conditional Offer, Endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice or Summons.

2.10.2. A valid non-UK Licence holder may be offered a National Speed Awareness course and the DORS System will accommodate the details of that non-UK Licence holder in the format that the licence is produced. Should a non-UK Licence holder decline the offer of a National Speed Awareness Course then until legislation is introduced, allowing a FPN to be issued without a counterpart, the matter should normally be dealt with by way of summons.

2.11 National Database

2.11.1. Pivotal to the development of the National Speed Awareness Course is the ability to retrieve data in relation to drivers who have already been offered or completed a course. The National Policing Improvements Agency has developed the Driver Offender Retraining System (PentiP DORS). ACPO and Road Safety Support Ltd. (RSS) on ACPO’s behalf, are the custodians of this database and before making a formal offer of a National Speed Awareness Course a check must be made with this database.

2.11.2. On completion of the course PentiP DORS must be updated by the service provider with the results of the course for the referring police force. This data is retained in DORS for three and a half years from the date of completion and for a further three and half years by ACPO and RSS for research purposes and thereafter de-personalised.

2.12 Emergency Service Drivers

2.12.1. Emergency service drivers will be dealt with in exactly the same way as a member of the public unless a Section 87 exemption applies (Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984). If need be the decision-maker will make enquiries into the nature of the incident before deciding on the appropriate course of action.

2.13 Mischievous or Non-Compliant Driver

2.13.1. Should a driver who has been referred to a Service Provider demonstrate wilful non-compliance or wilful misbehaviour whilst on the course, the Service Provider reserves the right to expel the driver from the course and refer the issue back to the police for prosecution. No refund of course fees should be given and the Service Provider will report in writing to the referring police force the reasons for the expulsion. Prosecution for the original offence will normally follow.

2.14 Grievance Procedures

2.14.1. Should there be any grievance between the client and the Service Provider it is incumbent upon the Service Provider to operate a grievance procedure and provide to the police a summary of the investigation. It will be a matter for the police to decide on any course of action and the decision shall be final and binding on all parties.


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