In the United Kingdom we have Police Community Support Officers (pcso's) and then proper policemen/policewomen. Recently a friend of mine got caught doing 34mph in a 30mph zone by a pcso on his own with a hand held speed camera.

My question is can a penalty/points be issued via post if you are caught speeding by a pcso acting on his own, iv'e found several different opinions but no actual law regarding the matter.

Things other people have said:

  • yes, as long as a proper policeman is present when measuring speeds
  • no, they can only issue warnings
  • yes, as long as they have proper training

The evidence from the speed camera will be used to prosecute. It will be reviewed by the police if it goes that far. Often video is included with the speed measurement for this purpose.

In your friends case they normally allow 10% + 5 MPH, but it can vary by force. The bigger issue is the use of a hand-held camera. They are notoriously unreliable and, if included and willing to spend the time and money, could likely be defended against in court. For example the manual for such devices typically states that they need to be operated on a fixed mount.

PCSOs operating speed cameras in this way rely on people being either ignorant of this fact or not having the resources to contest the charge. They additionally act as a scarecrow, making drivers slow down (often dangerously) when they see them.

  • 1
    If you slow down dangerously you were behaving much more dangererous lybefore – user151019 Nov 22 '18 at 15:35

Your friend was most likely not caught doing 34mph, but there was a measurement that proved that he was going 34mph. For example, there might be a rule that if the speed was measured by a PCSO with a handheld device, then a measurement of 44mph under these circumstances proves he was going 34mph.

A measurement of 34mph is most likely not enough, but a measurement of 34mph plus enough safety margin will be enough.

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