Speed gun blunder could clear innocent drivers

PUBLISHED: 14:35 19 May 2011 | UPDATED: 09:09 20 May 2011


A police bungle which may have seen 
innocent Weston motorists wrongly hit with penalty points and fines for speeding has been unearthed.

Some drivers using Winterstoke Road, who have been caught with a handheld speed gun, may now have their penalties wiped out after it was revealed that a police officer failed to carry out the correct procedure when using the device.

At a recent hearing at North Somerset Courthouse in St Georges, magistrates heard from 
one Weston driver, represented by solicitor David Bird, who was accused of travelling at 50mph in a 30mph zone near The Range 

He vehemently denied the charge, despite being shown the speed on the gun by PC Terry Hatton – but it later transpired the gun had not been calibrated properly.

Mr Bird said: “My client denied travelling at that speed and after it was found the officer had not tested the gun to the manufacturer’s guidelines, the case was dropped.

“I have very real concerns about the devices and the quality of the checks that are made and the quality of the training.

“The officer was very honest in giving his evidence, but unfortunately he does not appear to have had very good training in the use of the speed gun.

“If it is not set up correctly then it can show a wall to have a moving speed or can pick up the speed from another car.”

Mr Bird said he has dealt with a handful of speeding cases that have been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service after flaws were revealed in the devices, or the way in which the guns were tested.

He added: “Big questions need to be asked and there may well be other Weston people who have been given points on their licences when they were not speeding.

“But when people are shown the speed on the gun they don’t challenge it and not everyone can afford to take it further to court.”

A police spokesman said the officer involved had been taught correctly and the responsibility to train officers to the highest standard is taken seriously.

He added: “Since this incident was brought to our attention we have started to review other cases in which the officer concerned was involved.

“The officer, although having received training on using the device, may not have followed the correct operating procedure on this occasion and, as a consequence, will be undertaking further training and reassessment before using this type of equipment again.”

More from Weston Mercury

Two hooded Weston-super-Mare robbers who held their victims at knife-point and threatened to ‘slice them up’ have been jailed.

Read more

Drivers are having to take life-endagering risks due to high speeds in Yatton High Street, according to campaigners.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

The English National Ballet will bring its Swan Lake performance to the West Country – and the Mercury is giving readers a chance to win tickets to see the show.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00

An East Brent play park will receive a five-figure upgrade to improve facilities for children in the village.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:05

The collected 30 something’s were partying like it was 2002 at Bristol’s SWX on Friday as post punk rockers A returned to Bristol to play the whole of their seminal album Hi-Fi Serious.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:05

More than £200,000 has been spent by North Somerset Council on redundancy payments in 18 months.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00

The plan to join up a walking and cycling route from Brean to Clevedon has moved a step closer.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00

Venture into the wizarding world with the latest remake of one of J K Rowling’s books.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:56

A woman who has vowed to complete 40 outdoor swims in her 40th year is just three challenges away from hitting her target.

Read more
Saturday, November 17, 2018

Homemade crafts and items were sold in aid of one of Weston’s best-loved sites.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 3°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists