THERE has been an astonishing rise in drivers caught speeding on the county’s roads in just one year.

The number of speeding offences for the whole of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes almost doubled from 2017 to 2018, and in Bucks alone went up by 81 per cent.

Thames Valley Police has admitted it carried out more mobile speeding operations in 2018 because of 'an increase in available resources'.

In High Wycombe, the number of offences quadrupled – from 488 in 2017 to 1,991 last year.

Part of the huge surge is down to fixed cameras – the yellow ones by the roadside – recording 15 times as many speeding drivers as 2017.

Police say it is because these cameras have been 'digitally upgraded'.

Bucks Free Press:

In fact, the majority of fixed speed cameras in Bucks caught no one in 2017, including zero recorded from High Wycombe’s six roadside devices, according to police numbers.

The figures came from a Freedom of Information request made by the Bucks Free Press.

Key highlights from the data

Bucks and Milton Keynes  - 95 per cent increase

  • Drivers caught in 2017 - 17657
  • Drivers caught in 2018 – 34397

Bucks, Excluding MK - 85 per cent increase

  • 2017 – 15,444
  • 2018 – 28,517

Bucks-wide mobile cameras only

  • 2017 – 15300
  • 2018 – 26325

Bucks-wide fixed cameras only

  • 2017 - 144
  • 2018 – 2192

High Wycombe only 400 per cent rise

  • 2017 – 488
  • 2018 – 1991

High Wycombe - Mobile cameras only

  • 2017 – 488
  • 2018 – 1704

High Wycombe - fixed cameras only

  • 2017 – 0
  • 2018 – 287

Bucks Free Press:

What’s going on?

Thames Valley Police said the are a few reasons for the huge jump in the number of speeding offences registered from 2017 to 2018.

Police confirmed that more mobile speed gun operations were done last year than in 2017. 

Despite the force suffering huge cuts overall, spokesman Gareth Ford-Lloyd said there was a 'an increase and realignment in available resources' in 2018, and so more operations were carried out.

And the sudden jump in the number of fixed cameras catching motorists speeding was down to 'digitally upgrading' cameras. 

In the last two years, work has been carried out to make fixed speed cameras digital, meaning they do not require film to be changed manually are are therefore more likely to be working at any given time. 

Bucks Free Press:

Also, police created new mobile speed gun locations in late 2017, meaning there was a jump in the number of people caught frorm one year to the next in some places. 

The Bucks Free Press approached Thames Valley Police and asked the following questions:

  • Was there an increase in the number of mobile speeding patrols from 2017 and 2018 and if so what was the reason?

An increase and realignment in available resources has led to increase in operational visits

  • Was there an operational decision to ‘activate’ fixed cameras in 2018 that had previously been switched off (or not active) and if so why?

No cameras have been deactivated but there has been some work to digitally upgrade cameras so it may have affected the figures.

  • Is there any other reason the force can give for the steep jump between 2017 and 2018, and if so what is it?

An increase and realignment in available resources has led to increase in operational visits. Also, a number of the mobile sites were only established in Nov and Dec 2017, so offence data is not comparable.  

Bucks Free Press:

Which cameras caught the most drivers?

These are the top 10 speed check locations for the number of speeding offences clocked.

All 10 are mobile police check points.

What about the top 10 locations in Bucks with fixed cameras?

These 10 fixed roadside cameras registered the most speeding drivers in 2018 for Bucks (excluding Milton Keynes).

What locations saw a big increase in the number of speeding offences?

Perhaps the most notorious location for speed checks is High Wycombe’s Marlow Hill.

It was the fifth biggest total in the whole of the county.

Here, there was a big jump in the number of drivers clocked – from 226 in 2017 to 937 in 2018. That is a rise of 314 per cent.

Other notable jumps include New Road in High Wycombe, which caught just 68 in 2017 but 381 last year.

And on Marlow’s Parkway near Globe Park Industrial Estate, 871 drivers were caught, compared to 434 the year before.

Did any locations register a drop in the number of speeders?

Not many. Just 14 of the 119 speed check locations caught fewer in 2018 than the year before.

Among them are Missenden Road in Great Kingshill, where offences almost halved, and Treadaway Hill in Flackwell Heath, with 29 fewer speeding drivers.

Where does the money go from speeding fines?

In mid 2017, speeding fines were increased for the worst offenders,  with a 50% increase in the amount you can be fined in court for exceeding the posted speed.

Many people believe that money from speeding fines goes to the police force that carries out the speeding operation, but this is not the case. 

The cash goes to the government, into a 'consolidated fund' that is managed by HM Treasury.