View Full Version : Stirring . . .
The Nr Fairy
22nd May 2001, 14:49
Seen in today's Electronic Telegraph :
Helicopter will target speeding
POLICE helicopter speed patrols are to be launched today on a stretch of road in Derbyshire after 21 fatal accidents in three years.
The project, believed to be the first in Britain, aims to curb speeding on a 31-mile run of the A6 between Belper and Buxton, which has a 50mph limit. A police spokesman said the force helicopter, equipped with a powerful video camera, will be on the look-out for speeders, dangerous overtakers and drivers who cut corners.
A Highways Agency spokesman said: "It is being introduced to reinforce current safety measures, like rumble-strips and colour-coded tarmac, on what has become known as a very dangerous stretch."
22nd May 2001, 15:27
Could this be our fellow ppruner good ole TC!! what is the world comming to?
22nd May 2001, 16:11
Skycop is coming to a road near you....soon...
What, with the police being able to keep 40% of their takings from speed cameras...the world's the limit!!
22nd May 2001, 23:13
As my office is right under the flight path for that stretch of road, I will keep an eye out of the window and report on the activity. I will also check and see if this is genuine info or press hype!
Do you indeed fly for that particular operation TC?
[This message has been edited by muffin (edited 22 May 2001).]
22nd May 2001, 23:50
Tc, do you mean crinkly green stuff for the boys, or the cleared effects type through the accounts office? :)
23rd May 2001, 01:08
In the British Columbia election last week, one of the major issues supported by the winning party was the immediate banning of speed cameras.
I would also vote for that!!
Now, who'll think of that one first in the UK election?
23rd May 2001, 09:42
Cyclic, here in the UK it would take a very , very Brave person indeed to go against the PC lobby which exists at the moment in our House of Commons or even the Lords, Political Correctness has a Stranglehold on nearly everything, the wimps of the world are nearly fully in charge! :)
23rd May 2001, 13:35
I know very little about flying (but am working on that) however (with head held low) I do know just a little about speed enforcement (and thats the only hint I'm giving)
A couple of thoughts spring to mind,but do correct me if I'm wrong
All Police helicopters are shared with the local ambulance service and budgets only allow a certain number of flying hours per year.A twin engined machine full of all the goodies and an experienced pilot costs what an hour to run? and an endoresable fixed penalty (speeding ticket) fines the unfortunate soul £60 and thats before any administration charges for processing such ticket are incured.
Job hellies use a time/dist device and for reasons I can bore you with if anyone is interested your chances of actually getting caught by the eye in the sky to my mind will be f*** all less one thousand.
My force use a helicopter, in 8 years I don't know of it ever catching a speeder.its been used to video some being pursued by other ground units, but again total use down here of in car video systems has almost negated that use as well in all but the most densly populated areas
Think its hype.Greatest cause of rtc's is normally 'inappropriate speed' as opposed to 'excessive speed'
I read lots of 'tabloid theories' on how technology is attacking speeders most is misinformed propoganda.
There is a trial on forces receiving a portion of the fine. That portion was always only to cover admin costs so that it would cost an individual force no money to prosecute. Revenue wise its worth too much to any government to wave big sums of money away.
If anyone wants the hands on info on current systems then i'll happily tell, i believe in a level playing field.
In my defence I have seen the light and am in the process of moving away from 'the dark side'
I'll shut the door on my way out
It went Earth,Sky,
23rd May 2001, 13:58
Hi, sorry to jump on this band wagon a bit late.
I fly UK Police.
From my point of view it is totally inappropriate to use the Helo for speeders!
It is a very shoddy use of an expensive resource. Could it be the Air Support Unit is struggling to justify its exsistence to the Police 'Best Value' brigade??
One point for 'quidam'. Sorry to disagree, but not all Police aircraft are buddied with the Ambulance service. We're Not!!
The Nr Fairy
23rd May 2001, 14:27
Check out the "Value of Police Helicopter Support" I think, TC's made some points there about use of Police helicopters to do speed checks. If not there, its' somewhere else recent.
23rd May 2001, 20:43
Police are not affiliated to air ambulance. It only exists with three forces [wilts / sussex / N wales]. It's the other way round. the air ambulance aspect attaches itself to the well established police facility.
Your other point: our helo uses the tried and tested speed device: Vascar, from the rear of the cockpit. There is no other device (airborne) available. We have successfully prosecuted on a number of recent ocassions. We were on TV recently in "mean street" (BBC1 two weeks ago)demonstrating our ability to monitor and when necessary, prosecute speeding MOTORCYCLISTS. Note the latter, we have set up this procedure to try and reduce the death rate of the motorcycle fraternity. 16 died last year and so far this year 8 have died. I can guarantee you, that there is no other way we can keep track of this particular rise in road statistics. This, I'm afraid to have to tell you, is a case of high tech doing the business....
Roofus: I suspect you have/do not do HEMS, otherwise you'd appreciate what we are up against. 'Speeding motorists' as most people perceive it, does not come into it.
23rd May 2001, 23:28
never been in a 'job' helo so am willing to be corrected on anything .
wasn't saying that they'd never be used but for the running costs versus the end result any tabloid that suggests that a police helicopter will deliberatly fly along a fixed section of road purely for speeders must be on for a wind up.
my point was that with vehicle mounted vascar or 'pilot' (another time/distance device) linked to provida to measure the variable distances would require atleast a mandatory 7 day recallibration.
i will presume and please correct if i'm wrong that your aircraft mounted system will only allow you to time between distances that have already been measured - the white squares/ bridges etc (if not how do you get round the distance measuring issue???). realistically unless a specific subject or group is to be targetted i think that you'd have to be a very unlucky motorist to be caught by an air support unit that just happens to be near by and uncommitted at the right moment.
well from earlier replies guess you can narrow down where i work to one of three!!!
am all for technology being used to catch those most worthy of the systems attention. Technology lovely bring it on I will spend all summer scaring myself witless (note deliberate spelling mistake) 'playing' with the minority of motorcyclists that take a mile when a foot would be more sensible.(I have the scars to prove it)
don't think that there is a real solution to cut crash stats.I've picked up too many bits and 'visited' too many familys to be against anything that will slow the tide of eager lemmings. press stories help with the propoganda war as do for example the motorcycling press.
will agree with others that given the tasks which the ASU alone can complete that realistic regular speed enforcement should remain the the perogative of nasty traffic cops in cars and bikes unless for a purely officer safety issue the eye in the sky helps.we all bat for the same team after all..
It went Earth,Sky,
23rd May 2001, 23:37
and whilst i remember.Motorcyclists???? new tactics to avoid 'gettin nicked' come out each year.spotters and flexible routes being the latest.I work regualrly with 5 other bikers.for our problem areas as a group we were responsible for 100+ successful prosecutions last summer.all help is gratefully received but even i'm sensible to enough for every one we catch 20 we don't and that for every fatality there is more than one willing to do the same again. inappropriate speeds due to location/time/experience etc etc closely linked with the 'remove brain and common courtesy gene' before setting off is the biggest single killer and how do you stop that???? http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif :rolleyes:
It went Earth,Sky,
24th May 2001, 00:05
No....we don't do HEMS. But I don't see how that justifies using the aircraft (one assumes an explorer....V. expensive bit of kit!) to catch speeding motorists? Can speed cameras not do that at a lesser cost?
I'm not trying to pick an arguement...after all if the 'buzz' hits the streets that the helos are doing speeders that in itself is a deterant BUT...a 3 million pound cab doing speeders! How did they agree the budget for extra flying hours for that? We have neither the hours, the budget or the time for speeders! Not to mention an Explorer!!
24th May 2001, 00:59
Quidam: correct we use road markings as set distances, could be anything alongside the road that we can see on the camera, which means we hover approx 1 mile away and could even be pointing in the opp direction! We start and stop the calibrated Vascar as the cone head screams past the markers, and bob's your uncle another one bites the dust, hopefully with a ban to go with it!! That means he/she is off the road for 'x' months leaving them less time to kill themselves or unfortunately an innocent person(s).
We openly flaunt the practice, in the paper, on the TV on the internet. We 'phone the bike mags and clubs, we tell them where we do it...but we do not tell anyone when we do it. I pick up the remains of bikers and their victims, every week on average. We are only called for the messy ones obviously because the minor ones (usually not caused by speed) can hop a lift in the ambulance.
Roofus: I believe I clearly stated that the name of the game was to curb deaths within the biking fraternity. I agree wholeheartedly with you re the ubiquitous speeding motorists (leave them alone)...however, should they brazenly flaunt the law...and be on that marked stretch of road at the time, then wham bam, thank you mam.
By the way this force isn't always reactive, it's proactive too, we conduct bikesafe courses on a big scale. Anyone can join, a w/e with multi force police motorcyclists. Groundschool and practical x-country, defensive driving, etc, etc. Average turn out about 30 bikers.
24th May 2001, 00:59
Whenever traffic cops talk about catching speeding motorists they naturally make out that traffic cops are very reasonable people, concerned about death on the roads.
Funny thing is,all the roads they target in my area are the sort of road which is perfectly safe (wide, no side turnings etc), obviously should have a higher limit but nobody's got round to changing it, and where people break the limit because it is safe. The cops hide up, and catch the unsuspecting motorists.
I haven't yet seen a speed camera near a school. :rolleyes:
24th May 2001, 01:48
Must say I agree with some of your observations. But not all Police Traffic types are 'bad apples'. Most apply their greatest power, 'discretion', well & need to see worse than just a little bit of speeding to react. It is a no win game for the bobby, he's damned either way!
But I definitely agree on the lack of speed cameras where we need them! Why are they always on safe bits of road? If you've got known 'accident blackspots' smother that area with cameras!
TC: Can we swap our F2 for your Explorer? I promise to put it to..(dare I say it?)...better use! http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif
24th May 2001, 16:36
This going perhaps a tad off thread but not to worry.
All I ask is as so many threads seen to degenerate very quickly..PLEASE PLAY NICE.
The views expressed are mine alone.I don't expect to please everyone and although I'll generalise for ease of writing I can only refer to where I work.No references are meant to upset,offend or otherwise.
In any job you will get good,good having a bad day and bad. I don't do sermons or patronising lectures.
General speed enforcement actually takes up very little of my normal working day it's just what traffic cops are best known for.
Traffic is the smallest of any 24/7 uniformed unit provided by police.My shift will at best have 6 but more usually 3-4 to cover an area of some 200 square miles. So realistically to be caught by a 'hiding' copper is bloody unlucky.
As with many jobs all my daily time needs to be accounted for.The days of just going where its easy (and catching speeders is easy) are long gone.
rtc stats and data collecting cables now tend to dictate where we go for greatest effect in relation to offences committed and is specific enough to control time,day and direction of enforcement.
In a simplistic fashion the limits are set.ACPO will decide on a level of allowable speeding above this before any sort of prosecution is considered. I have to query why??? On the scale of things shoplifting is probably on a crime scale about the same as speeding.If there was a theft allowance how many people do you think would reguarly steal up to that limit????
The real clamp down is on 30 limits.The speed isn't the real issue.EG in a 30 limit police here currently place a large bright yellow sign warning of a check prior to the area being checked.even telling people we are there we still catch more than we can write and most don't see a clearly visible sign!!!! the speed is a side issue regarding general 'brain in neutral driving' speed is the easiest to prosecute.miss the pedestrian at 30 = 1in 3 chance of survival.miss him at 40= almost certain fatality.
as earlier said its the inappropriateness. speeding fines in the uk are substantially lower than other euro countries. speeds are higher but penalties for driving like a prat are massively higher.
Europe hasn't just shafted the GA industry either. Human rights legislation forces police as a public service body to take positive action on any issue that adversly afects that day to day standard of living. the upshot. wide open road, constant noise of speeding upsets locals , police legally have to take action.Talk about piggy in the middle.
with regard to schools most rtc's at schools occur at start and end of school day when traffic volume of parents is so highj that most roads are too clogged for silly speeds anyway.
in my opinion just the general standard of driving is too low.too much is taken for granted.
with regard to caring considerate casualty reduction based traffic cops.
I'm selfish. with odd exceptions for black spots most fatalities follow little or no pattern with regard to time,day,location what they tend to show are patterns for causation factors.to actively reduce crashes the whole time their is little general public support will be very difficult.i hate delivering death messages i do it because i want it done properly first time round .
Have done 4 so far this year all to parents with teenage children whos actual ability is far lower than the way they chose to drive/ride.Lose track of how many rtc's i go to , can still recall all the fatalities because when you meet and help to counsel the friends/family/partners etc. the corpse takes on a whole personality.when do you ever see the press report on how traffic cops have counselled and helped arrange all the issues surrounding a sudden unexpected road death????
I've probably started to ramble and this isn't a traffic cops forum.In essence if you do it, you know you're doing it.the chances of getting caught are fairly slim but if you are caught i see little to moan about. how many burglars or shoplifters ask to be let off????
gatso's too are fairly ineffective.they tend to catch locals who know they are there and actually make things worse by causing a ripple effect (speed to camera,brake like mad to pass, then accelrate away again).
there is no easy solution and i do not expect much support for a fairly unpopular job.the whole time motorists will speed openly past MARKED cars and bikes such is the contempt some have for the legislation. The more 'innocents' will get caught in the clamp down.
probably reads like a rant but its not meant to be.just speeding is far wider in reality than just hiding at the roadside to catch poor motorists (who are after all breaking thw laws we all voted for in the first place) :) :) :) :)
It went Earth,Sky,
24th May 2001, 17:32
Good post - not a hint of smugness or self-importance. Thankyou for the job that you do - I couldn't/wouldn't.
24th May 2001, 18:46
I'd be sad if I thought you felt I was having a dig!
Any Bobby has my full support! The Police have a truely thankless task & as stated no-one ever remembers the people helped or saved. They only ever remember the bookings!
But the thread was initially about Police Heli's doing speeders!
I'm sure TC will fill me in on the details, but to launch a multi-million pound Heli to sit & wait for speeders is surely a horrendous waste of dosh! If however they do it as they are passing well...maybe. But what an expensive way to do it! I accept his arguement about reducing fatalities, but surely all that will acheive is the bikers moving elsewhere for their kicks, which I'm sure you agree is what they'll do! I truely hope an increased Police presence helps reduce fatalities, but you can do that by overflying the area to & from jobs.
The force I work for certainly doesn't have the budget to cover that kind of ops. This financial year I'm pleased to say we've had some 40 pursuits resulting in 26 stolen cars being recovered. Have already recovered £200,000 of stolen kit & assisted the boys on the ground in some 90 arrests. We've also found 25% of the mispers we've set out to find. We simply don't have time or the flying hours to cover speeding!
& as for funds raised by speeding fines! You boys should get it all! It could put more feet on the street & replace some ageing & decrepid vehicles!!
[This message has been edited by Roofus (edited 24 May 2001).]
24th May 2001, 19:04
Quidam, you've got my vote!
24th May 2001, 19:51
No offence has been taken.Feel free to dig if you wish.When your job is only marginally better than a traffic wardens in middle societies eyes- it gives me a laugh and keeps me sane.
I can drive and I can ride.I'm not gods gift adn still crash with a reasonable amount of regularity.Only get smug after far too much beer at which point I also tend to fall over.
Agree helicopters are an expensive form of speed enforcement, but if they are passing or in some places can do it better/safer then good on them.
given the choice and the freedom I know how I'd rather chase them.
Mention this post for one free let off... :)
It went Earth,Sky,