50,000 drivers caught speeding on Norfolk's roads despite lockdowns

Speed camera

Numbers of drivers speeding on Norfolk's roads rose last year despite period of Covid lockdown. - Credit: Getty Images

The number of drivers caught speeding on Norfolk roads rose last year despite periods of Covid lockdown that meant most were confined to home. 

Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership recorded 50,796 offences of excessive speed during 2020/21, up from 49,540 in the previous year, before the pandemic.

Of those, more than 5,500 were not processed due to a speed awareness course backlog caused by the pandemic.

People were warned not to take non-essential journeys during lockdowns from March 23 until May last year, November and again in January 2021.

A driver was caught speeding at 132mph on the A47 near Acle. Picture: Norfolk and Suffolk’s Roads a

A driver was caught speeding at 132mph on the A47 near Acle during the first Covid lockdown. - Credit: Archant

But the first lockdown saw one driver caught doing 132mph on the A47 near Acle, while another was clocked at almost 130mph on the NDR near Norwich.

Drivers looking to take advantage of quieter roads to put their foot down prompted police to issue a warning that they would take “robust enforcement action against those who break the rules”.

Despite this, the number of drivers caught speeding by average speed cameras, mobile speed-check vans and community enforcement officers all rose, although there was a slight fall in those captured by Norfolk’s network of 23 fixed speed cameras.

Pc Sid Carr performing a speed check on Bury Road Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police had warned drivers of robust enforcement of speed limits despite near empty roads during lockdown. - Credit: Archant

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Data in the annual report of Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie reveals 21,307 drivers were caught on fixed cameras, 14,000 were clocked by mobile checks and 4,590 were recorded at the county's three average speed check sites. 

Community enforcement volunteers, who operate predominantly within 30mph and 40mph speed limits at locations based on public concern and speeding data analysis, recorded a further 10,899 offenders.

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Mr Orpen-Smellie said: “Despite the events of the last 12 months the county has seen an increase in offences reported overall, and most notably the introduction of an additional ‘average speed system’ has significantly increased detection rates.”

Norfolk's newly-elected Police and Crome Commissioner, Gile Orpen-Smellie is officially sworn into t

Norfolk's newly-elected Police and Crome Commissioner, Gile Orpen-Smellie is officially sworn into the role. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Speeders registered by average speed cameras more than doubled from 1,727 to 4,590, the data shows. 

The pandemic led to “significant challenges” for enforcing speeding punishments, said Mr Orpen-Smellie. Speed awareness courses were initially suspended before being moved online.

“Despite a significant effort to ensure a comparable number of courses were available, regrettably an unavoidable backlog was created, with 5,589 offences unable to be processed,” he said.

Average speed cameras are now in place on the A17 between Sutton Bridge and King's Lynn. Picture: Ia

Average speed cameras on the A17 between Sutton Bridge and King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt

Criminal prosecutions and court prosecutions for speeding have also been delayed due to “logistical challenges” brought about by the pandemic, he said.

In total 24,100 people attended speed courses, 13,296 paid fixed penalty fines, 3,416 were prosecuted and 4,395 drivers had offences cancelled. 

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