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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 70416
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hi, I have recently been sent an NIP for a motorcycle speeding

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Hi, I have recently been sent an NIP for a motorcycle speeding offense, 51mph in a 40, photographed from a camera van parked up on a grass verge. To obtain the photo, I had to either admit to the being the rider or state a different rider. The photo was then sent to me, and to my surprise was only a front view of the bike/rider approaching the camera with no number plate shown(as this is only on the rear of a bike).

I requested further photographic proof of the vehicle number plate traveling at the alleged 51mph, and have received a reply from Derbyshire Police stating that there is no photographic proof of the plate - only that the camera operator wrote it down manually as the bike passed the camera van.

I have now asked Derbs police the legality of this type of recorded alleged offense and they have suggested that if it is my wish, I go to court to challenge it. However, this then waives my right to a speed awareness course, so I feel I am being cornered. The NIP also stated that Photographic evidence was available (only if I admitted to being the alleged rider), but it was only after this admission to obtain the image that I now find that there is no photographic vehicle number plate evidence at all!

In the absence of vehicle number plate photographic evidence from a camera van, is this charge against me lawful? The image does show the bike and rider, but is this proof enough without showing a still of the number plate moving at the alleged speeding offense?

I have booked the speed awareness course as this had to be done within 14 days, but my argument with Derbs Police continues as there is no photographic evidence that the number plate that identifies that actual motorcycle traveling at excess speed can be supplied.

I look forward to your response,

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

We're you speeding?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It does appear to be me on the bike!

Thanks. Its helpful to know what we are dealing with.

Can you just give me about 15 mins to consider this?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, no problem. I guess this may raise some technical legal issues.


I do see why you are concerned about this but I'm afraid you misunderstand the law. You don't have a right to the speed awareness course. That is entirely within the discretion of the constabulary.

The police are right I'm afraid. If you do wish to dispute this then it can only be done at court and that will mean the speed awareness course is lost.

The practical reality is that there must have been a record of your number plate otherwise they couldn't have traced you at the DVLA. It might well be a means by which they could not rely upon at court. Thats the risk you take unfortunately.

The issue is not whether the record of your index is correct really though but whether the device accurately recorded your speed and can attribute it to your vehicle. The fact of a manual record does tend to suggest a fault. The risk you face though is that you will go to court and find they are able to satisfy a court their findings were reliable. Its not as difficult as you would think. Before automated detection devices offences were always proved by the evidence of officers. Its fair to say that the crown will often give up if there are reliability issues but its a risk to rely on that.

I'm very sorry if this is bad news

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for the response.


I will therefore have to assume that the court can,. if they so choose, rely on the evidence that the officer manning the camera wrote the number plate correctly as to identify me as the rider.


To confirm, the number plate does not have to necessarily be in the camera image traveling at the alleged speed for the police to prove their case in court?

The issue isn't the identity of the driver. They can do that from you S172.

The issue is whether or not its your plate and whether or not they can prove the vehicle was speeding.

Yes, though on your main point. None of this has to be proved by means of a detection device. Before technology advanced to include detection devices these cases were always prosecuted on the evidence of officers and their perceptions.

Its fair to say that it does make it more complicated because they are trying to marry up two detection devices and the Crown will often drop things that are complicated - but thats the gamble that you take.
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