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Speed Cameras and Speeding Enforcement in Thetford

Speeding by motorists is a regular concern of Thetford residents. Enforcement is carried out by Norfolk Police from time to time and there is also a permanent fixed camera on Bury Road. In addition, Thetford Community Speedwatch teams do monitoring, and the Town Council owns a SAM2 vehicle-activated warning sign that can be placed in various locations around the town.

A134 Bury Road Speed Camera

The fixed speed camera on the Bury Road is operated by the Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership, and went live on 18th September 2018. By the end of that year, 3152 offences had been detected and processed. Further details of the Norfolk Speed Cameras. The camera is a Truvelo D-Cam, which takes digital images rather than using film. The camera has an infra-red flash, which will not be visible to drivers. The camera was installed at the location after a high proportion of vehicles were found to be speeding during a traffic survey.

Thetford Community Speedwatch

Community Speedwatch teams are volunteer groups that are trained by the police to record traffic speeds on local roads. The speeds they record cannot result in any legal action, but the police will send advice letters to the owners of vehicles that are repeatedly noted by Speedwatch teams. In addition, if a significant number of speeding vehicles are noted at a given location, the Speedwatch team can ask the police to do their own speed enforcement at that location, which can then lead to fines and prosecutions.

SAM2 Vehicle Activated Sign

Thetford Town Council purchased a SAM2 Vehicle Activated Sign in October 2018 through Norfolk County Council's Parish Partnerships Scheme. The SAM2 is a small sign the detects vehicles and flashes up a positive or negative message depending on the speed.

The sign can only stay at a given location for a maximum of four weeks, and then cannot return there for another eight weeks. Sites must be agreed with Norfolk County Council and the Police. As of January 2019, there are five agreed locations in the town (Castle street, Churchill Road, Brandon Road, St John's Way, and Kimm's Belt) which were selected at the May 2018 Town Council Planning Committee Meeting. An application for a sixth location on Rosecroft way is pending.

Enforcement of 20mph Zones

Like many other forces, Norfolk Police have a general policy of not prosecuting drivers for breaking 20mph Zone speed limits. As a result, the police do not usually carry out speed checks in 20mph Zones. However, this does not mean that the limit is not enforceable or that it is only advisory. Drivers travelling at more the 20mph are still breaking the law.

The reasoning for the lack of enforcement action by the police is that they believe prosecutions would not stand a good chance of being successful. "20mph Zones" do not have repeater signs, as they are supposed to be "self-enforcing" through the use of traffic calming measures. A defence for a speeding charge is that the speed limit was not sufficiently well signed. If the traffic calming measures are insufficient to force vehicles to stay under the limit, a speeding driver could claim that the signs at the entrance to the zone were not clear enough and so they were not aware of the limit. The police regard this defence as having a good chance of succeeding, and hence they do not want to waste resources launching prosecutions that are likely fail.

The only solution to allow proper enforcement would appear to be to change the "20mph Zone" into a normal 20mph limit with regular repeater signs, and to ensure that the signs at the start of the limit are sufficiently clear.

A134 Average Speed Camera

In Septmeber 2019, an average speed camera system was installed on the A134 Bury Road between Barnham and Ingham, in response to a number of serious accidents on that stretch of road. These will enforce the 60mph national speed limit on that stretch of road.