Unmarked ‘speed camera van’ spotted in Northamptonshire

An unmarked speed camera van is being rolled out in Northamptonshire, to combat what the police are calling ‘dangerous road usage’


NORTHAMPTONSHIRE Police have taken the aggressive step of using an unmarked speed camera van (also called a mobile enforcement unit) on the roads of the county.

The police have taken this unusual step in a bid to reduce what it calls ‘dangerous road usage’ on the roads of the county. Justification for the move comes from accident data, which shows in 2021 29 people were killed, and another 280 required urgent medical assistance, as a result of road collisions.

The vehicle will now be placed at selected locations in Northamptonshire, with the police using crash data and tip-offs from the public. Workshop Seventy7 tweeted yesterday that the stealth speed camera van was located in Thrapston, although the whereabouts of the van today are as yet unknown.

A speed camera van is usually a civilian vehicle, dressed up in high-viz decals to make it clear what its purpose is. The police seem to have circumnavigated this requirement with this vehicle, and it’s not clear if it will be the first of many.

What a speed camera van usually looks like

From a public perspective, the move does seem like more of an exercise in revenue generation and less about road safety. The reason a camera van is painted up in such a way is to notify road users of its existence and allow them to slow down to a safer speed. This van, being much harder to spot, won’t have the same effect. Drivers could still pass it at more than the speed limit, and not be aware of the error until the speeding fine lands on their doormat. It just doesn’t quite make sense from a road safety perspective.

The Northampton Chronicle and Echo reports that Matt O’Connell claims the vans are required to cut down on potentially dangerous driving.

 “We know that people change their driving behaviour when they see a marked police vehicle and using unmarked vehicles is nothing new. However, this is the first time we’ve adopted this approach when it comes to mobile enforcement.

“With the level of offending across the county, we need to do something different, and the use of unmarked enforcement vehicles might make people think twice before taking unnecessary risks in Northamptonshire.”

Have you seen the new stealth van out on the streets of Northamptonshire? We’d love to hear from you if you have.

Lead image credit, Workshop Seventy7 / Twitter

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