The role of Safety Cameras in Sussex

Posted on Friday 28th January 2022 in News

The Safety Camera Team form part of Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and are authorised by the Chief Constable to carry out their role of gathering evidence. They have been fully trained in the use of all aspects of the Home Office Type Approved (HOTA) device they are using. The Safety Camera Team complement static cameras across Sussex, which can be found via the SSRP Data Portal here

Q. What is the point of speed cameras?
A. Safety Camera technology (also known as speed cameras) are vital to improving and maintaining the safety of our road networks. The purpose of the technology  is to reduce the number of people Killed and Seriously Injured (KSI) in collisions on our roads, by encouraging people to obey speed limits and drive in a safe and considerate manner.

Q: How does a fixed speed camera work?
A: Gatso speed cameras used across Sussex are easy to spot, as they are painted bright yellow, mounted on the side of the road on a pole. Gatsos use radar to measure a vehicle’s speed, with a secondary proof of the vehicle’s speed to support prosecution. This is why all Gatso locations have dashed lines painted on the road in front, spaced evenly to calculate the distance travelled over time. The Gatso takes two pictures a fraction of a second apart, which can be checked to verify the speed of the vehicle and whether an offence has been committed.

Q: What offences can enforcement operators gather evidence for?
A: Alongside fixed speed cameras, mobile camera operators are primarily responsible for detecting speeding vehicles and help reduce KSI collisions on our road networks. However, unlike fixed cameras, the camera operators can detect drivers or passengers who fail to wear a seatbelt, drivers who use a mobile phone or hand held device whilst driving or who fail to be in proper control of their vehicle.

Q: Should there be camera signs to warn drivers of the presence of enforcement vehicles?
A: There is no legal requirement for the police to display camera signs on or near the road or on the enforcement vehicle. Motorists should be aware that if they exceed the legal speed limit anywhere at any time, they risk being detected.

Q: Do the Safety Camera vehicles have to be visible at all times?
A: The Safety Camera Team operate using bright yellow vans, however this is not a legal requirement. Covert enforcement is lawful, however is carried out primarily by colleagues at Sussex Police. The mobile cameras employ laser technology to detect the speed of vehicles, which is calibrated up to 1000 metres.

Q: How do I know the equipment is accurate?
A: All detection devices are Home Office Type Approved (HOTA) for use. The equipment is also independently checked and calibrated on an annual basis in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidance and issued with a calibration certificate which forms part of police evidence and can be produced in court if required.

Q: Why are you enforcing here?
A: Enforcement sites are determined by identification of collision hotspots, ranging from 30mph residential locations through to national speed limits. The Safety Camera Team are able to support operational requirements for exceptional sites where data supports concerns raised by the community or Local Authority.

Q: Who sets the speed limits?
A: On motorways and trunk roads, speed limits are set by Highways England. On all other roads, it is the Local Highways Authority. Roads where there is a system of street lighting have a default speed limit of 30mph, unless another limit has been imposed by an order and is indicated by signs. These Authorities are also responsible for maintaining appropriate signage of the roads.