Dorset Police testing laser camera that can spot a driver using a mobile phone at 500m

Dorset Police has been testing a new laser speed camera that is so accurate it can tell if drivers are using a mobile phone or not wearing a seatbelt from up to 500m away.

Jun 7, 2012
By Paul Jacques
Police-recorded hate crimes in England and Wales. PA Graphic. Source Home Office. Figure for 2019/20 not included due to missing data.

Dorset Police has been testing a new laser speed camera that is so accurate it can tell if drivers are using a mobile phone or not wearing a seatbelt from up to 500m away.

The £12,500 Concept II is fitted with traditional laser speed-detection equipment but also features HD camera controlled via a 6.4in TFT with touchscreen interface that can store almost 4,000 records on DVD. It will be used from existing speed camera vans.

The Concept II from Tele-Traffic UK can also be used in conjunction with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) readers.

Dorset Police purchased two of the devices as part of Dorset Road Safe, its joint campaign with local councils that operates a zero tolerance on driving offences.

Brian Austin, project manager of Dorset Police’s ‘no excuse’ team – part of the Dorset Road Safe partnership’s casualty reduction campaign – said: “With the covert use of safety camera vans, cars and bikes, technology like the Concept lasers – which are now detecting mobile phone, speed and seatbelt offences at a distance of over 400m – intelligence-led deployments and the increased reporting of bad or dangerous driving by concerned members of the public, we will together make a difference in Dorset.”

The ‘no excuse’ team is made up of police officers using marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles and is supported by safety camera vans.

“We are continually amazed at the thought process of some of the bad and inconsiderate drivers on Dorset’s roads,” added Mr Austin.

“Although the ‘no excuse’ message is widely known in Dorset, nationally and even internationally, we still have drivers travelling on our roads that show time and again that they have no concern for other road users and pedestrians.

“The Dorset Road Safe partners will continue to make full use of the ‘no excuse’ team, traffic officers, safer neighbourhood teams, safety camera vans and the responsible drivers using our roads to catch those that think the law does not apply to them.”

In the first quarter of this year, the ‘no excuse’ team has processed 4,067 offences – 2,079 of these offences were detected by safety cameras and 1,988 were officer issued tickets.

Of the 1,988 officer issued tickets, a total of 250 were for distraction offences such as using a mobile phone, taking photos and using an iPod while driving.

Officers, once again, were left astounded by some of the comments and excuses given by offending motorists, that included:

•A man in Poole stopped for using his mobile phone while driving stated: “Well I wouldn’t have used my mobile if I knew there were policemen in an unmarked car behind me.”

•A young man stopped by officers for riding his motorcycle at 42mph thought it was unfair that the police positioned themselves at the bottom of a hill because his bike goes faster downhill.

•A driver stopped in Poole travelling at 50mph in a 40mph zone said: “I’m on my way to an eyesight test and didn’t see the speed limit sign.”

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