7/4/2008UK: Speed Camera Operator Rigged the System
Speed camera operator tagged innocent motorists so that he would be the top ticket issuer in Lancashire, England.
A UK speed camera operator, desperate to keep his position as the top ticket issuer, manipulated evidence to obtain more convictions, according to a report by a government watchdog agency. The UK Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announced yesterday that the civilian employee of the Lancashire Constabulary was fired at the conclusion of an inquiry that opened in October 2007.
"The IPCC's managed investigation found that on a number of occasions between September 2006 and May 2007 the speed camera technician had failed to correctly calibrate the mobile speed camera he was using," the commission report stated. "This meant that the man, who started his job in September 2006, failed to carry out the set procedures to ensure the distance measurement and alignment were correct before and after the camera was operated. Failure to do this meant it could not be guaranteed the camera had worked correctly."
The IPCC examined 435 videotapes of motorists convicted by the civilian police employee of speeding. The commission concluded that 41 tapes contained evidence that innocent motorists were wrongly convicted. Of these, 545 motorists either went through the court system and were found guilty or paid their ticket without challenge. These convictions were based on perjury.
"Despite knowing that the correct checks had not been made, the operative, who was the highest performing camera technician in the force in terms of offenses captured, signed documents needed for court cases to certify that the equipment had been working correctly," the report stated.
Now £35,585 (US $70,500) in refunds will be issued and 1635 penalty points against those drivers' licenses lifted. Despite the evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service refused to file any charges against the operator. Lancashire Constabulary also insisted that it has no ticket quotas and did not provide any incentive for the operator to focus on issuing the greatest number of tickets possible.
The IPCC is comprised of sixteen commissioners, none of whom have served in law enforcement,. They are responsible for conducting independent investigations into public complaints regarding police misconduct.