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Speed Limits: Measuring Instruments

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what studies her Department has conducted to assess the potential for human error when using the VASCAR system of speed detection. (255896)

The VASCAR speed measurement device is approved by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) as a device that is suitable for police use to support an officer's opinion that a vehicle was speeding. ACPO have issued guidance which requires officers to be trained and to pass a test of their performance. I am satisfied that when a trained and successfully tested operator uses a VASCAR device in line with the ACPO guidance, the device will be accurate and provide useful corroborative evidence.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what studies her Department has conducted to assess the impact of police radio waves on the VASCAR system of speed estimation. (255898)

When the police Airwave radio system was introduced, there were comprehensive tests as to the likelihood that it might interfere with other technological devices, such as VASCAR. Advice was issued on operational practice.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent guidance her Department has given police forces on use of the VASCAR system of speed estimation in the light of their withdrawal from use in Scotland; and if she will make a statement. (255901)

VASCAR is a device approved by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) as a means of corroborating an officer's opinion that a vehicle was speeding. Guidance on its use is a matter for ACPO. I understand that use was suspended briefly in Scotland while existing guidance was clarified, but that it has now been reinstated. It is now clearly understood that VASCAR can always be used without the risk of Airwave radio interference if the radio is switched off or its transmit inhibit function has been activated, or if an active radio is outside a police vehicle and VASCAR inside, there is a distance of at least two metres between them.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police forces in England and Wales use the VASCAR system of speed estimation. (255902)

This information is not available centrally. The decision as to which devices to use in speed limit enforcement is a matter for individual chief officers of police.