Robin Smith has asked his officers to prepare a document on roads policing, with consideration to be given to using the latest technology to combat what he called the ‘enduring problem’ of speeding in the Island.
Mr Smith stressed that the use of average-speed cameras – and the possibility of placing cameras in the back of police vans – were merely ideas but that the force was determined to improve road safety.
And he revealed that 70 motorists suspected of regularly driving dangerously had been written to by the police and would continue to be targeted in forthcoming operations.
Mr Smith said: ‘I have asked our team to look at a new strategy and also at what is the latest technology available.
‘I stress again, these are only options but some of that could be technology that looks at average speed, or speed-camera devices in highly visible vans.’ He warned that individuals suspected of dangerous driving would come under additional scrutiny, and added: ‘Seventy people have received letters in the last few months in which we have expressed a concern about their driving. We will look to where we have intelligence as to people who are driving dangerously in the Island. There is no doubt that we will target those individuals in the interests of the safety of other road users. I am happy to say that they are very much in the minority.’
Last year the States police, in conjunction with the honorary police, launched Operation Canvas to crack down on antisocial driving, which escalated during lockdown.
The police chief said that no decisions had been taken about the introduction of cameras and that he would only progress new measures after working in collaboration with the parishes and their honorary officers who, he said, already did a ‘phenomenal job’.
Speeding was, he said, a problem that was confirmed both by the amount of correspondence he received from Islanders and also the experience of his officers but explained that it remained ‘a hard nut to crack’.
He acknowledged that the solution involved a number of factors, including changing the behaviour of drivers and road design, but he also said that the new strategy would involve evaluating new enforcement options.
However, Mr Smith expressly distanced himself from the idea of fixed-penalty notices which allow offenders to be dealt with on the spot unless an individual instead opts to have the matter dealt with in court.
‘I am keen that this does not get conflated into fixed-penalty notices. I am not suggesting that,’ he said.
‘One of the challenges we have, if we have speed-detection devices, is not the technology, which is well understood and easy to use.
‘I could purchase a van and have a camera sticking out of the back and I could stick it on the Avenue – that isn’t a problem. The problem is how you deal with all those who are speeding, because I am confident that in a very short period of time, we would have hundreds of speeding motorists. How do you deal with the administration of that? Our parishes are intimately involved in that administration, which I want to continue. They are part of that process.'