Hundreds of foreign drivers breaking the speed limit in Kent have not been fined, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed. Charlie Elphicke, Member of Parliament for Dover has slammed the failure to collect the fines as “one rule for local motorists, another for foreign drivers.”
On April 20 of this year, Kent Police implemented a traffic calming program along the coast road into Dover in a bid to keep lorries using the port moving forwards, and traffic in the centre of town under control. The Traffic Assessment Phase (TAP) as it is known introduced 40mph zones were along the A20, enforced using both fixed and mobile speeding cameras.
But the figures from the FOI request by Mr Elphicke, show that in the nine months to November a total 5,430 speeding offences were recorded by all drivers, yet only 3,740 penalty charges were issued, Kent Online has reported.
That leaves 1,690 drivers who were caught but not fined, just over one third of the total offenses. According to Mr Elphicke, those let go were foreign registered vehicles.
Separate figures issued four months after the introduction of TAP showed that roadside fines were only issued in 10 out of 840 cases involving foreign registered vehicles.
“It is unacceptable that Kent Police have been punishing British drivers while allowing foreign drivers off scot free,” Mr Elphicke said.
“There cannot be one rule for local motorists, and another for foreign drivers.
“A staggering amount of money has been lost through not issuing fines to foreign drivers.
“Dover TAP has helped relieve gridlock in Dover town when there are problems at the port, but Dover will only be able to feel the full benefit if the 40mph speed restriction is made variable and properly enforced.
“The police need to enforce the speed limit on the A20 on all drivers equally – foreign or domestic.”
He added that each fine is a fixed sum of £100, meaning that Kent Police have lost out on £169,000 in just nine months.
In 2009, Kent Police were the first force to issue roadside on-the-spot fines for foreign motorists. They say that 10,171 fines have been collected in this way to date.
Roads policing chief inspector Amanda Tillotson said: “Kent Police uses a range of methods to enforce the speed limit on the Strategic Road Network in the county including fixed average speed cameras and mobile cameras operated by the Kent and Medway Safety Camera Partnership.
“Data from these methods is sent to Kent Police’s Central Processing Unit which sends a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) to the registered keeper of the vehicle.
“If details of the registered keeper of the suspect vehicle are unavailable, for example, if the vehicle is foreign-registered, a decision would be made based upon the severity of the offence as to whether it is proportionate to consider further action.
“For most cases, the resources required to achieve this would be disproportionate to the offence and an NIP does not have jurisdiction in a foreign country.
“However, it does allow Kent Police to pursue drivers for more serious offences.
“Where possible, and subject to dealing with other incidents, enforcement is also carried out by roads policing officers to directly target drivers who cannot be dealt with by automated means (for example, foreign registered).
“In addition, any driver without a satisfactory UK address may be ordered to pay an on-the-spot security deposit.
“This money is retained, and used to pay any subsequent fine, if the driver fails to attend a court summons.”