Average speed cameras in Jersey 'a no-brainer' – renewed calls for major crackdown on speeding

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CALLS are growing for the government to ‘get on’ with introducing static speed cameras in the Island.

Constable Karen Shenton-Stone said approved propositions on the issue and enhancing road safety appeared to have been ‘shelved’.

Her comments came shortly after Vallée des Vaux residents Colin Lever and Tony Allchurch said that average-speed cameras – which capture a driver’s speed at two different points and are widely used in the UK – could crack down on speeding in the area while simultaneously freeing up police resources.

In 2020, an approved proposition from former St John Constable Chris Taylor called for legislation to be brought forward, enabling honorary police officers to use unattended mobile speed cameras – but the law remains unchanged at the time of writing.

POLL: Should average-speed cameras be introduced in Jersey? CLICK HERE

And last year, a proposition lodged by Mrs Shenton-Stone – amended by then-Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis – called for a structural review of road safety in the Island, and was passed unanimously.

St Martin Constable Karen Shenton-Stone [front left] Picture: ROB CURRIE. (34802121)

However, Mrs Shenton-Stone said ‘little progress’ appeared to have been made in relation to either objective.

‘They [the government] should just get on with it. I know the Law Officers’ Department cite that they are overworked but it does seem that certain propositions get shelved,’ she added.

‘One of the biggest things that is brought up by parishioners is road safety. It should be at the forefront of every government [agenda] as it is something that affects everyone, no matter how old they are.’

St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft said the introduction of speed cameras was an issue he had raised before, and that he was ‘frustrated’ that there was no mention of the topic in the Government Plan.

St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft Picture: ROB CURRIE. (34802266)

‘It goes back to the heart of [the problem that] the government’s priorities don’t necessarily meet the priorities that the parishes are calling for,’ he said.

He agreed that the fixed-point cameras would help prevent drivers from using Vallée des Vaux and similar lanes as ‘rat-runs’.

‘It’s designed to catch people who are breaking the speed limit in a flagrant way that is dangerous to life. It’s certainly not designed to fine and criminalise those who momentarily stray over the limit,’ he added.

In October last year, police chief Robin Smith asked his officers to prepare a document on roads policing that considered technology – including average-speed cameras – which could combat what he called the ‘enduring problem’ of speeding in the Island.

Mr Lever said: ‘As residents, we have been trying to get something done about this for a long time, but it keeps getting put off for one reason or another. The bulk of the argument [against it] is that it would be too much paperwork.’

Using previous speeding data recorded in Vallée des Vaux, Mr Lever estimated that if 5,769 vehicles broke the limit in a fortnight – resulting in an average fine of £85 for each driver – nearly £500,000 would be generated.

He added: ‘What it would also do is open up a lot of time for the police to go about their business. It’s a no-brainer, really.’

His comments were echoed by fellow Vallée des Vaux resident Tony Allchurch, who said: ‘It seems to me that the perception people have now is that the speed limit doesn’t really matter.’

He added: ‘What we have to accept is that people only see the need to get between two points as quickly as possible. We cannot depend on the goodwill of people to respect the brilliance of the green lane, which is a concept that should be celebrated.’

Mrs Shenton-Stone said: ‘We do need to do something to cut down on speeding.

‘If it is trialled in St Helier, then other parishes may also want to pick up on it.’

Inspector Callum O’Connor Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (34802304)

However, head of roads policing Inspector Callum O’Connor said average-speed cameras were ‘not the answer’, adding that they were more appropriate for UK motorways.

‘The answer to speeding in the Island cannot be solely tackled by police officers stood on roads doing speed checks. There needs to be a longer-term solution. I think that is a combination of things,’ he added.

‘Firstly, education for motorists, then an overall cultural change across the Island regarding speed limits. Thirdly the introduction of different methods for speed awareness and speed reduction.’

He explained that this was going to include ‘cut-outs’ of police officers being placed on roads.

‘That’s simply to highlight that speeding is an issue in an area and let people know that the [cut-out] will be replaced at some point by a real police officer doing a speed check.’

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