Politicians have approved the use of speed cameras to help the Honorary Police catch speeding drivers in Jersey.
The decision came after an extended debate, which eventually saw the States Assembly vote in favour of allowing Honorary Police to employ mobile speed cameras and use the data as evidence in criminal cases – though specifics of how they will be implemented are yet to be figured out.
The proposition was brought forward by St John Constable Chris Taylor, who was recently fined £4,000 after being found guilty of dangerous driving.
Constable Taylor said on the topic of speeding that “we’ve identified a problem and I’d like to do something about it.”
Indeed, the debate spurned talk of a perceived speeding problem in the island overall, with St. Ouen Deputy Richard Buchanan decrying a “cunning and devious” network of speeding on the island.
Not all Members were convinced by the part of the proposition that said the cameras could be used as “evidence in any criminal case”, though.
Deputy Kirsten Morel called the proposition “the beginning of a surveillance state” and a “a fundamental attack on our freedoms in Jersey.”
Pictured: Constable Chris Taylor said that the States had "identified a problem" with speeding.
Others such as St. Helier Deputy Geoff Southern criticised the overall proposition as being “half-baked” and lacking detail, and there were questions from members as to why the proposition only specifies Honorary Officers and not the States of Jersey Police, or what the costs of the cameras would be.
On this topic of costs and pragmatics, St. Lawrence Constable Deidre Mezbourian queried how many Constables had actually been consulted, stating she herself had not been fully informed: “No one has mentioned it to me at all, I have not been consulted, I have no idea how much it would cost the parishioners of St. Lawrence if this was to be introduced, and that gives me cause for concern.”
However, St. Lawrence Deputy Gregory Guida argued that any cost would be worth it, saying: “As far as I can see, there is only one camera that is available on the market that could be agreed and that could be made legal for use in Jersey."
“Yes, it is very near £20,000 of investment, but… if we save a couple of lives in the next ten years, maybe it is worth £20,000,” he added, emphasising that no Parishes would be forced to act on the proposition.
Pictured: It is not yet decided how exactly the cameras would be used and what the financial and manpower implications would be.
While States Members backed the move to enable the use of speed cameras, they rejected part of Constable Taylor's proposal to introduce stricter sentences for drivers found guilty of driving 30mph over the limit.
In his summing up statement, Constable Taylor thanked his colleagues for their input, remarking he had not expected it to have been such a “long and lively debate”, and that he was “sure and confident” that the Infrastructure Minister would be able to come back to the Assembly with a “well-researched law."
He also stated that he was firmly against a fixed penalty system and that the Parish Hall system for offences would be retained.
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