Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Speed Enforcement Policy Guidelines for UK Police ForcesThis is our summary of the key points from the document ACPO Speed Enforcement Policy Guidelines 2011-2015: Joining Forces for Safer Roads, which has been issued to all police forces in the UK. You can read the full document here.
The guidelines make it very clear to police forces that there should be a sound case for enforcing the speed limit on a particular road. This will usually be because there is evidence that the speed limit is being intentionally disregarded by some drivers, creating a greater safety risk to people and property.
ACPO states that it is important that a road looks and feels like the speed limit that applies to it. If it does, the majority of drivers will find it easy to stick to that limit.
If the majority of drivers do not comply with a limit, an investigation should be undertaken to establish whether the limit is correct. If it is, additional signage and engineering may be required. If a small number of drivers are deliberately offending, then the police will consider enforcing the limit on that road.
Police forces should take action to enforce the speed limit on a particular road because there is a safety risk to people and property; not routinely enforcing inappropriate or unclear/confusing limits.
Police forces should make sure that enforcement is focused on drivers whose behaviour poses the greatest risk/highest harm – particularly to others. This will usually be at an identifiable location or in specific circumstances.
Police forces (and individual officers) should take a similar approach in similar circumstances, not treat ever case exactly the same. For example, it might be appropriate to issue a driver with a summons for exceeding a speed limit on roads near schools at certain times of day, whereas a similar offence committed in the middle of the night might justify a fixed penalty notice.
Police forces should help drivers to understand what is expected of them – and provide clear information about what they can expect from the police. ACPO achieves transparency by publishing all of its guidelines.
ACPO Guidance to Police Forces
Where a speeding offence has been committed, police officers should consider whether the level of signage, etc on the road was sufficient - and whether it was clear to the driver what the correct speed limit was.
Generally a fixed penalty notice or a summons will be the minimum appropriate enforcement. For less harmful speeds, certain offenders will be offered a course of education.
Enforcement by prosecution (ie issuing a summons) should not be considered when the breach of the speed limit is lower than the speeds listed in the table below:
Speed Limit Device tolerance Fixed Penalty when education is not appropriate Speed Awareness, if appropriate Summons in all other cases and above
|Speed Limit||Device tolerance||Fixed Penalty when education is not appropriate||Speed Awareness, if appropriate||Summons in all other cases and above|
|20 mph||22 mph||Not currently issued||No courses||40 mph|
|30 mph||32 mph||35 mph||35 mph||42 mph||50 mph|
|40 mph||42 mph||46 mph||46 mph||53 mph||66 mph|
|50 mph||52 mph||57 mph||57 mph||64 mph||76 mph|
|60 mph||62 mph||68 mph||68 mph||75 mph||86 mph|
|70 mph||73 mph||79 mph||79 mph||86 mph||96 mph|
20 mph speed limits or zones
ACPO states that local speed limits should be part of a package with other measures to control speeds; including engineering, visible interventions and landscaping that respect the needs of all road users. This will ensure a road looks and feels like the set speed limit.
If a road does not have the right measures to clearly identify the correct speed limit, there will be a lack of awareness amongst the majority of drivers. It would not be appropriate for the police to enforce the limit in these circumstances. As on all roads, the police’s role is to tackle deliberate speeding which poses a significant safety risk.