By on August 19, 2008

The police in North Wales [UK] aren't horsing around. Literally. They're using an SUV hauling an empty horse trailer to hide a speed camera to fatten the civic coffers catch miscreants brazen enough to flaunt the law by exceeding the posted speed limit. The video shows the setup in action and the police scurrying to move it to a different location when they realize they're being watched. And if that wasn't sneaky enough, the Welsh po-po also deploy a pair of high-performance motorcycles for the same purpose. The unmarked bikes sit by the side of the road until a group of bikers pass. Then they join at the rear of the pack. They just wait for the bikes ahead to start speeding so the camera can start printing money photographing lawbreakers. At £60 each ($120), it hasn't taken long for these to become part of the revenue machine. TheNewspaper.com reports "local speed camera partnerships collected £10 million (US $20 million) from 160,126 automated tickets issued in 2006 with North Wales accounting for more than a third of the total."

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22 Comments on “Welsh Police Getting [Even] Sneakier to Trap Speeders...”


  • avatar
    menno

    My absolutely serious question is this: why did we (the United States) bother defending western sillivization in the 1940′s when the nazis eventually took over anyway?

    Well?

    Not to mention the fact that fascism of this kind is getting to be the norm even in the United States.

    Lucky for me, Michigan actually has it written in the state Constitution that if you are to be written a ticket, you have to be written same in person by an occifer.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    Menno,

    With all due respect (and I do mean that), I think the UK did its fair share in protecting the world from the Nazis, too! :O)

    Back to topic, this kind of entrapment (there’s no other word for it) is really starting to annoy me in the UK. But we the citizens of the UK are at fault here. We’ve let the same people stay in government for too long.

    As someone said on TTAC:

    “Politicians are like baby’s nappies. If you don’t change them enough, they start to smell.”

    Likewise, the United States is going down this road (e.g: like Detroit, they seem hell bent on making the same mistakes British Leyland did. Exporting jobs to lower cost countries, thereby destroying manufacturing in the United States, etc). So, one could argue:

    Why did the United States bother liberating itself from the UK when it’s emulating a lot of our economic mistakes policies……?

  • avatar

    I keep thinking about starting a movement to put up citizens’ initiative type proposals that money from tickets cannot go into government coffers. donate it to worthy charities or something.

    the other thing I’d like to see, perversely, is police patrol a particular stretch of road for a month and ticket every single person who breaks the letter of the law… followed by a referendum on whether the speed limits are properly set.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I’d love to sit out and video tape the police breaking the speed laws.

    Optic, I like the speed limit set idea…besides the ticket part :)

    Never been there (besides a LHR layover), but the UK sounds terrible to me…at least driving there.

  • avatar
    menno

    You’re quite right, Katie, and no slurs intended. I was trying to make a point, that’s all. (But it ended up on the tip of my head, but never mind…)

    Just read something really interesting about the gradual fall of Western Sillivization and how it could be stopped. (I’ve been lamenting the fact that I think it’s too late just as the Pope himself says – not so – and I’m not even Catholic, but it got my attention). It’s kind of too high brow for me but some of you more brainiac types would probably really get into it.

    Here it is.

    http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/hutchison/080818

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    This stuff makes me drive even faster. It won’t be long before the fun is over for all of us. So until that day, I’ll be in the Left Lane with the hammer down.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    There is absolutely no entrapment issue at all. None.

    Unmarked SUVs pulling trailers do not induce citizens to speed.

    There is nothing unfair about this, unless you simply don’t believe in speed limits at all. Or unless for some reason you think that speed limits should not be enforced by undercover cops/vehicles. Those are separate arguments.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    They would make Boss Hog proud.

    Katie you think when the speeding tax reaches its zenith you guys will revolt on the whole issue or just roll over and take it. I hope you don’t, so it sets an example for this country.

    We should start videoing the cops breaking traffic laws and fining them for hypocrisy, you know “speed kills”. The cops around here are just criminals with a badge and an attitude.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    I have no issue with this as long as the local speed laws are fair. Thats the problem where I live…cameras and lidar traps are often put in locations where the speed laws should be changed. The police KNOW it but capitalize on the lousy speed limits.

    For example, a 50km/h “construction” zone in my city. At 11:00pm, with no construction people in sight (as construction was finished) there was a photo van. at the end of a merge. That was a downhill merge. Onto a completed, straight, 3-lane road that everyone was going 70km on. In order to merge safely you look at the traffic and speed up to the flow and merge. And as a result get nailed with a ticket for merging safely or “speeding”.

    Lucky for me I have a V1. I got the warning and slowed to the 50km limit and could not merge safely at that speed. so I just stopped, right in front of the camera-van, and used the merge as a yield and went when there was no traffic.

    2 days later the speed signs were changed to 80km from 50km, even though the road had not changed in anyway.

    Another example, city limits grew out onto a 110km/h highway. Road did not change, just the city limits. Because its in city limits now, the limit was dropped to 90km. And for the first month after the change, lidar was deployed 5 feet from the new city line…causing people to slam their brakes on (what was) a 110km highway when they saw the trap. I saw 2 rear endings there as a result. Road safety my butt.

    People would not hate the cameras so much if there was a “fair use” policy attached to them.

  • avatar
    powerglide

    Menno: Thanks for the link. If this one works, might be of similar interest:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/content/protected/articles/000/000/009/870fkkgk.asp?pg=1

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/content/protected/articles/000/000/009/870fkkgk.asp?pg=2

    Dynamic88 (I always wanted a Delmont myself):

    Well. It’s not entrapment like the DEA does entrapment, shopping a bag of cocaine around at an attractive price, then arresting the buyer, no.

    But (separate argument or no), given the huge cash-driven distortions in setting speed limits, a certain sporting chance is owed the motoring public. Marked cruisers, actual officers.

    No one’s expecting a horse trailer to photograph them. As menno and Katie agreed, Britons of every isle valiantly fought rather hard in WWII to prevent just this sort of universal surveillance.

    The UK didn’t have speed limits at all between cities, until the ‘temporary’ 70-mph limit of 1965 was imposed.

    Of course, now it’s 2008 and the ‘temporary’ limit is still in place.

    Insofar as the police have helped perpetrate this fraud on the British public, they should shut down the cameras and issue not tickets, but apologies, until they regain the public trust.

    (Refunding the motorists’ money, clearing their licences of points would be in order as well.)

  • avatar

    We here in the US are fighting the scamera companies city by city.

    Why are the Brits and Aussies so camera happy ? Is it the lack of significant elected govt ? The fact that one party really rules at any given time ?

    One wonders what is wrong with you people in this one way. At least be honest and slap 110 kph governors on all cars.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    powerglide

    But (separate argument or no), given the huge cash-driven distortions in setting speed limits, a certain sporting chance is owed the motoring public. Marked cruisers, actual officers.

    If the argument is that speed enforcement – on a certain stretch of road- is more about money than about safety, then let’s make that argument. Never having been to Wales I’m not prepeared to say what the safety/money ratio of enforcement is on this particular stretch of road.

    Would it be fair to assume you have no objection to unmarked cars (cycles) if enforcement is genuinely safety related?

    As a slight aside, a couple weeks ago RF was actually complaining of empty patrol cars being parked in a residential neighborhood to deter speeders. I’m just wondering where we’re (TTAC) going here – what (if any) speed enforcement is appropriate?

    No one’s expecting a horse trailer to photograph them. …

    Which is why it’s far more effective than a big squad car with lightbar and an officer with a radar gun the size of a bazooka mounted on a tripod. I’m still not sure why stealth somehow “wrong” except of course that it catches speeders.

    …. As menno and Katie agreed, Britons of every isle valiantly fought rather hard in WWII to prevent just this sort of universal surveillance.

    I’m sorry, I should let the last comment go, but I can’t. It was not part of Hitler’s plan to install speed cameras at every intersection in the UK. Manifestly, no one fought WWII to prevent speeding cameras. A victorious and free UK decided to put up cameras w/o any involvement from the Nazis.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Hitler? Hitler? If Hitler won this string would not be written. English would not drive. They would be lucky to be alive at all, unlike many other nations and races slated for liquidation. Lets not talk Hitler on this site.

  • avatar
    Power6

    Dynamic88: Which is why it’s far more effective than a big squad car with lightbar and an officer with a radar gun the size of a bazooka mounted on a tripod. I’m still not sure why stealth somehow “wrong” except of course that it catches speeders.

    In what way is this effective? If the goal is to slow traffic, increase safety, enforce the law or similar noble objectives, then IMO the horse trailer method is pretty ineffective: The speeder doesn’t know they have been caught, they continue violating, each lawbreaker must be processed and notified separately, and only some days later do they even know about it.

    Now compare that with a good ol’ fashioned marked cruiser speedtrap: Everyone slows down within sight of the officer, the caught violators are notified immediately so they can suspend their “unsafe” operation, and most people passing through are going to at least make themselves aware of the speed limit and give some thought to it. Even better are the unmanned “Your Speed” RADAR trailers. They are proven to work without even the presence of an officer.

    But I am positive neither of those generate as much revenue as quickly as a trick horse trailer. I like to look at both sides of an issue, but I am having a hard time coming up with a legitimate reason for this method of enforcement other than monetary motivation at the expense of public safety concerns.

    Would it be fair to assume you have no objection to unmarked cars (cycles) if enforcement is genuinely safety related?

    I studied Criminal Justice for a breif period some time ago. One of the basic things that I learned is that sometime in the 40′s the average patrolman no longer walked the beat and began driving a squad car. This change took away the presence of the police in general in communities (presence itself being a deterrent to crime) so the marked cruiser is a response to that trend, a way to increase the percieved presence of the force while enjoying the mobility advantages of the automobile. I think this still holds true today. I understand that for certain roles the undercover car is a must, but most of the time the unmarked car is a sort of mild form of entrapment, or at the very least counter to the fundamentals of criminal justice theories. The whole point of the cruiser is for everyone to know you are there. But the need to fool the public is strong so we have states like Connecticut where the 55mph speed limit rules and the entire fleet is unmarked.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Power6

    You make a good argument. I have to agree with what you’ve said. Safety is probably greater with a police presence.

    Mainly my objection to the article and some comments was the idea that undercover speed enforcement is somehow wrong in an Orwellian big brother sense. I also object to charges of entrapment.

    I still don’t see that there is an expectation of privacy on public roads, so it’s hard for me to get upset about hidden cameras. There’s no doubt this is mostly about revenue, but most comments are along the lines that it’s unfair to get caught when one didn’t know the police were there.

    I can get behind your POV that safety is enhanced by a police presence. If it’s supposed to be about safety, let’s do what most enhances safety.

    Entrapment is a non-issue. It’s not even soft entrapment. It’s not even neo/quasi/semi/pseudo entrapment. The existence of a horse trailer by the side of the road does not cause anyone to speed.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    It’s all about the money, government is expensive and someone has to pay.

  • avatar
    menno

    While it’s clearly true that the Nazis never envisioned speed cameras, Dynamic, it’s also true that the basic precept of spying on the general public IS obviously what the Fascists and Communists excel at.

    My point was essentially that, despite our supposed freedoms, we’ve somehow ended up in a culture (not just in the UK, but increasingly also everywhere else in western sillivization) where we are surveilled by “our” government.

    I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said that when the government fears the people, you have liberty; when the people fear the government, you have tyranny.

    Hence, my sarcastic comments about – why did we even bother fighting for freedom 65 years ago when now, we can’t be bothered to even vote freedom back into place?

    (After over 1/2 a century on earth, I finally joined a political party which is dedicated to true freedom for Americans; http://www.constitutionparty.com).

    Kind of like the frog in the pot on the stove. If you drop a frog into the pot and the water is hot, he jumps out and you lose your (French?) dinner. Pop the frog into the cool water and slowly turn up the heat, and before he knows what happened, he’s dinner.

    That’s what America’s enemies within have done. By which I refer to a lot of enemies of the citizens, such as the Republicans AND the Democrats, the anti-American elites, the CEOs of companies who think only short-term, the politicians who can’t be bothered to stand up for what is right, the same idiots who “swear” to uphold the United States Constitution and bend it into a pretzel (before generally ignoring it), the Judicial branch overstepping its bounds (along with the Administration and Congress also often overstepping bounds and the Congress also illegally giving away monetary control to the elite rich “Federal Reserve” which is neither).

    It’s no different than what the Fascists and Communists did to surveille their public, except in methodogy due to new technology. A nation of people under constant surveillance is a nation of untrusted slaves and peons.

  • avatar
    menno

    What was I just saying?

    Here is an entirely coincidental and very convenient “find” in the auto news, props to Autoblog.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2008/08/19/mechanic-arrested-for-not-giving-up-vehicle-to-angry-customer/#comments

    The actual story is here

    http://www.sundaysun.co.uk/news/north-east-news/2008/08/17/anger-at-arrest-79310-21547006/

  • avatar
    Airhen

    It’s all about the revenue and not about people obeying the law. If people obeyed the law, where would their money come from?

    Tough place to live, but the US is probably not too far behind.

  • avatar
    powerglide

    G’ mornin’ all !

    Dynamic88, Power6 seems to have done better than I at making similar points.

    I’d just add the idea that a radar/laser gun running all the time, in the hands of an officer or a machine, is basically a search.

    Searches are to be preceded by a probable cause !

    If an officer sees that a car is driving way too fast, he can then aim a technological device at the car, there’s probable cause.

    Drug ‘enforcement’ officers can more or less radar your home, see what’s inside, (growing lights, etc)if they have warrant.

    You Constitutionally happy with them going down your street, frying every house on the block, in the hope that they’ll catch someone ?

    Spy agencies can in some cases, catch your own private conversations by pointing a beam off your house windows.

    OK with them parking such a device in, say, a horse trailer across the street from your house ?

    Every house ?

    This is why some of us keep bringing up historic British resistance to totalitarian regimes.

  • avatar
    menno

    Well said, Powerglide.

    In other news, if you go over the US border by land (presumably, in your car) you may now expect to have your computer (lap top) removed from the car and possibly retained for an un-described term of time. As in, for ever. Even if they give it back, they claim the “right” to simply copy and later discern the entire contents.

    So much for Constitutional rights against search & seizure.

    As for privacy, forget it.

    Oh yes, and now that you have to have “modern” electronically scannable ID to go over the border (or more specifically, return to the US) despite being a US citizen, it is not only understood but recently hit the news that the US gummint is keeping track of ALL information garnered for ALL people going in and out of the borders, and such info is being shared by/with Canada.

    As for citizens rights and the right to move about between borders, privacy, etc., forget it. Soon, if not already, “they’ll” be able to track every move we make. GPS, anyone?

    BTW if you go INTO Canada, the Canadian border patrol have the right to confiscate all burned discs and MP3 files and keep them.

    Just went on vacation to Canada, saw border patrol agents carrying lap tops from cars. I simply didn’t volunteer (wasn’t asked) about our tiny Asus EeePC which we had to retain vacation photos in the Canadian rockies.

    We had US passports, when going into each country, said passports were scanned by border patrol.

    Now if you don’t already feel paranoid, I’ll tell you that I read an interesting article (and confirmed it by speaking to a few guys who work in the cellular industry). If “someone” with sufficient technical knowledge wishes to do so, and bearing in mind that the telephone/cellular industry has fully agreed to “work with” surveilling the US public on behalf of the government when “requested” – it’s absolutely possible to listen in to anyone having a conversation if they have a cell phone. Whether or not the cell phone is even “turned on”. Likewise, the gummint has absolved the phone/cell industry from any and all legal ramifications (i.e. as a citizen you lose the right to sue the phone or cell company for illegal search & seizure).

    Apparently the only way to be certain that your cell phone is not being “tapped” is to remove the battery.

    Now do you feel paranoid yet?

    It all goes WAY beyond speed traps these days.

  • avatar
    capeplates

    Never did trust the Welsh – they’ve been trying to trap the English for years and I suspect this is another attempt to catch English motorists during the holidays season. Why the English should ever go to Wales on holiday defies explanation!


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