Speed cameras to be used on Jersey roads

SPEED cameras will be permitted for use by the honorary police as the latest tool in the arsenal against ‘boy racers’ using the Island’s roads as a racetrack, following a vote in the States yesterday.

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At the end of a summer in which parishes have reported an increase in excessive speeding during and after lockdown and the States police launched Operation Canvas to target such problem driving, the States Assembly approved a proposition from Constable Chris Taylor by 31 votes to ten.

The decision means Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis will now be tasked with coming back to the Assembly with legislation to enable the honorary police to use unattended mobile speed cameras – something the existing law does not currently allow.

Members also agreed, by 24 votes to 19, to permit the data recorded by such cameras to be admissible as evidence in any criminal case.

However, they narrowly rejected a move to introduce stricter sentences for motorists who are found guilty of travelling 30mph or more over the speed limit by 20 votes to 19. Most who spoke against that part of the proposition agreed with the principle but questioned the figure of 30mph or said there was a lack of research and detail on the specifics.

Summing up his proposition following an afternoon of debate, Mr Taylor said: ‘We have identified a problem and I’d like to do something about it, pure and simple.’

Members had overwhelmingly agreed that Jersey has a problem with speeding and that more needs to be done to combat the issue.

However, there was disagreement about whether the proposition was the right way to go about it or whether ministers should be carrying out more work and bringing their own, more detailed proposals.

Some agreed the proposition was a positive start and should be agreed in principle, even if a large number of Members then did concede the proposition itself lacked detail.

Such supporters of the proposition, however, urged the House to approve the move and let the relevant ministers for Home Affairs and Infrastructure iron out the details.

St Ouen Constable Richard Buchanan was among those who spoke in support of the proposition, saying he was confident his parish would vote to buy a speed camera if such legislation were enacted.

He described speeding late at night on the parish’s roads as a ‘pandemic since lockdown’ that was blighting the lives of many parishioners.

Home Affairs Minister and St Clement Constable Len Norman agreed and said Members would feel ‘guilty’ if there was a serious accident due to speeding but they had voted not to do anything about it. He said there were currently two people in a serious condition in hospital as a result of a high-speed accident.

St Martin Constable Karen Shenton Stone, however, said she was concerned about the burden the ‘well intentioned’ proposition could place on the parish hall inquiry system, which would be inundated with speeding cases at all levels, not just those going at very high speeds.

She called for central funds to be used to pay for speed cameras if they are introduced rather than parishes and also said she was worried it was a way of getting fixed-penalty notices ‘in by the back door’.

Mr Taylor, however, later rejected that claim and said he was against fixed-penalty notices.

An attempt by Constable Mike Jackson to refer the proposition back so that more work could be carried out on it was defeated 27 votes to 17.

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