Number of motorists caught speeding goes up by a fifth in a year

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THE number of motorists caught speeding in our area in the past year has increased by a fifth, The News can reveal.

In the period between April 2009 and March 2010, a total of 51,747 drivers were caught. But in the same period in 2010/11 the figure rose to 62,768 – an increase of 21 per cent.

Throughout last year more than £3m was paid out by drivers in fines or speed awareness courses.

Superintendent Chris Brown, head of the roads policing unit, said he was not surprised by the figures, and said: ‘That 62,000 is a very, very small percentage of people who are out on the roads.’

‘It’s a real drop in the ocean.’

‘There are a lot of issues in terms of vehicles these days being very comfortable places to be.

‘People have a lot of pressures on them at the moment to get from A to B quite quickly.

‘It’s a bit of a reflection on the way people live at the moment and the pressures on people, particularly unemployment.’

The figures showed that across Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant, £1.6m was paid out in speeding fines in a year – up around 20 per cent from the previous year.

And a further £1.6m was paid out for the driver awareness training – up a further 23 per cent.

Meanwhile, Supt Brown added that driver awareness training, which was introduced three years ago, has so far proven to be a great success.

The courses give drivers the option of attending a course instead of having three points put on their licence.

‘In line with government policy we try to offer a diversion from prosecution where we offer the driver awareness courses,’ he said.

‘I haven’t met anyone who has said it’s a waste of time.

‘If we can get more people on these courses thinking about it then that’s great.

‘Trying to bring these figures down is really important.

The figures go up to April last year, just before speed cameras in Portsmouth were switched off after council leaders axed the funding for them.

Mobile speed cameras are still used in the city and police continue to work with Portsmouth City Council to discuss bringing the fixed cameras back into use again.

Portsmouth was the first city in the UK to introduce speed limits of 20mph in residential streets.

‘Obviously I want to see these figures going down,’ added Supt Brown.

‘The feedback that we get from some of the communities is that speeding is one of the top three biggest concerns.

‘People do get really concerned about speeding in built up areas. So we try and do our best to respond to those issues.’

‘People are causing danger by driving at that speed.’