New speed camera ‘SpeedSpike’ will spy on motorists with satellite technology

April 19, 2010 | by | 7 Comments

A new generation of speed cameras which use satellites to track average speeds over several MILES are being secretly trialled in Britain.

The high-tech devices – called SpeedSpike – are an enhanced version of the spy cameras which enforce London’s congestion charge.

They combine number plate recognition technology with global positioning satellite (GPS), enabling average speed to be measured over long distances.

The manufacturer claims they are so small and cheap they could be used to target rat runs and reduce the need for speed bumps on smaller roads.

Police hope the new cameras will enable them to re-create the system used on motorway contraflows on virtually any road.

The Home Office is currently testing them at two sites – one in Southwark in London and another on the A374 between Antony and Torpoint in Cornwall.

SpeedSpike uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology, which in 2008 took photos of 64 million of motorists in Britain – ten times more than the previous year.

Details of the secret trials emerged in a House of Commons report and have been slammed by civil rights’ groups and MPs.

Torridge and West Devon MP Geoffrey Cox said ”fundamental” questions had to be addressed before the ”alarming” level of surveillance was extended.

He said: ”You always have to ask if it is really necessary to watch over people, to spy on them and film them.

”Unless we keep asking the question ‘is it necessary?’ we will get to a point where it becomes routine and it should never be a matter of routine that the state spies on its citizens.”

The SpeedSpike cameras have been developed by PIPS Technology Ltd, an American-owned business with a base in Hampshire.

In the company’s evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee, it boasted of ”number plate capture in all weather conditions, 24 hours a day” as well as the system’s ”low cost” and ease of installation.

The company believes the cameras can be used for ”main road enforcement for congestion reduction and speed enforcement”, can help to ”eliminate rat-runs” and cut speeds outside schools.

It said: ”We have an urban test site at Salter Road in Southwark and are working in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police.

”We also have an inter urban test site located on the A374 from Torpoint to Antony at which we are working with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.”

The trial is being carried out in conjunction with the police and the Devon and Cornwall Safety Camera Partnership.

Superintendent Tim Swarbrick, chairman of the partnership and head of roads policing, said it was being tested ”on a live road system to assess how effective and accurate it is”.

He added: ”Average speed recorders have proved to be very successful in roadworks on the major trunk roads. They have reduced injury and deaths and we would like to replicate this positive effect on more rural roads.

”To this end we are assisting the Home Office in piloting a new version of this equipment to gauge both its accuracy and operational effectiveness.

”The equipment is not being used for enforcement purposes, as it is not Home Office approved at this stage.”

The Home Office said it was unable to comment on the trials because of ”commercial confidentiality”.

It is not known when the cameras might come into use.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Howard says:

    It beggars beleif that the home office can even consider thinking about financing this controvertial project let alone PIPS seeking approval from them. Do the home office not even think that 'us' motorists won't think of innovative ways of getting around these menaces, companies will soon start inventing & selling products for your numberplate that avoids detection from these "Spike" cameras and there will be because there will be a high demand for them in the future because of fed-up motorists.

    Soon when Spike cameras become a daily way of life there will be people with non-detectable numberplates flouting speed limits & driving dangerously because A: There will be no Police around to stop them B: Because of the 'freedom' they have from not being detected – they will behave like wild caged animals let back into the wild thus making the most of their new found freedom to misbehave.

    Another thing that worries me & quite frankly, sickens me is that PIPS are advertising the product to the home office as an "Easy and cheap to install product" well if its supposedly that cheap, then surely they can see that the devices are easily prone to be disasterously faulty from weathering & criminal damage because U.S firm PIPS, could possibly be getting the devices & the software/technology at a cut price from a third world country (importing child labour) in order to make maximum profit for themselves & rip-off the home office while they are at it.

    I cannot justify how if I was driving along an A-Road with mixed speed limits both new and temporary, this "spy" would not pick up on these new speed limits then send me a notice of intended prosecution for speeding because it read & calculated my speed as being higher than average although I was abiding by the limits.

    It has been proven time-and-time again that the computer calculations from ANPR frequently 'get it wrong' & court cases have been fought and won over the years from wrong speeding convictions. Mobile speed cameras have been found to be wrong in some cases because there have been arguements that the officer aiming the gun at his/her discretion wasn't pointing it at the numberplate thus causing an erroneous speed reading from a common 'slip factor' mistake. What more mistakes can these computerised devices make?

    I know what I will be doing if I see these cameras…

    Getting something discreet on my numberplate to avoid the detection… Wouldn't we all?

  2. Howard says:

    It beggars beleif that the home office can even consider thinking about financing this controvertial project let alone PIPS seeking approval from them. Do the home office not even think that 'us' motorists won't think of innovative ways of getting around these menaces, companies will soon start inventing & selling products for your numberplate that avoids detection from these "Spike" cameras and there will be because there will be a high demand for them in the future because of fed-up motorists.

    Soon when Spike cameras become a daily way of life there will be people with non-detectable numberplates flouting speed limits & driving dangerously because A: There will be no Police around to stop them B: Because of the 'freedom' they have from not being detected – they will behave like wild caged animals let back into the wild thus making the most of their new found freedom to misbehave.

    Another thing that worries me & quite frankly, sickens me is that PIPS are advertising the product to the home office as an "Easy and cheap to install product" well if its supposedly that cheap, then surely they can see that the devices are easily prone to be disasterously faulty from weathering & criminal damage because U.S firm PIPS, could possibly be getting the devices & the software/technology at a cut price from a third world country (importing child labour) in order to make maximum profit for themselves & rip-off the home office while they are at it.

    I cannot justify how if I was driving along an A-Road with mixed speed limits both new and temporary, this "spy" would not pick up on these new speed limits then send me a notice of intended prosecution for speeding because it read & calculated my speed as being higher than average although I was abiding by the limits.

    It has been proven time-and-time again that the computer calculations from ANPR frequently 'get it wrong' & court cases have been fought and won over the years from wrong speeding convictions. Mobile speed cameras have been found to be wrong in some cases because there have been arguements that the officer aiming the gun at his/her discretion wasn't pointing it at the numberplate thus causing an erroneous speed reading from a common 'slip factor' mistake. What more mistakes can these computerised devices make?

    I know what I will be doing if I see these cameras…

    Getting something discreet on my numberplate to avoid the detection… Wouldn't we all?

  3. rod Barker says:

    Why not go the whole hog?

    1/

    All car trips will have to be logged in advance through TRAFIC CONTROL website.

    2/

    The journey will be monitored all the way. any vehicle not on the system will be intercepted by police. This means no point in stealth number plates.

    3/

    You will have an alocated milage per year when it is used put car in garrage till next year and new allocation.

    4/

    CONTROL will have the option to not aprove journies on conjested routes and "Rat Runs" and at any other time to control trafic flow.

    5/

    Control will not aprove trips that could produce driver fatigue. Stops will have to be scheduled.

    6/

    This will reduce the carbon footprint need for road improovements. There will be a flourishing trade in bikes and horses and wayside inns.

    Bosh all done and dusted in one fell swoop. The ultimate control measure. All benifit no loss. The Crim. / Teorrorist will be hit as hard as any one so that cant be bad can it???

    Do you honestly think you have any individual freedome left.

    Dont laugh it is only just around the corner technology is there already. Given another 5 years of Labour "Control" and we will be well on the way towords it. I have heard this mooted before ten years ago but technology not up to speed then.

  4. rod Barker says:

    Why not go the whole hog?

    1/

    All car trips will have to be logged in advance through TRAFIC CONTROL website.

    2/

    The journey will be monitored all the way. any vehicle not on the system will be intercepted by police. This means no point in stealth number plates.

    3/

    You will have an alocated milage per year when it is used put car in garrage till next year and new allocation.

    4/

    CONTROL will have the option to not aprove journies on conjested routes and "Rat Runs" and at any other time to control trafic flow.

    5/

    Control will not aprove trips that could produce driver fatigue. Stops will have to be scheduled.

    6/

    This will reduce the carbon footprint need for road improovements. There will be a flourishing trade in bikes and horses and wayside inns.

    Bosh all done and dusted in one fell swoop. The ultimate control measure. All benifit no loss. The Crim. / Teorrorist will be hit as hard as any one so that cant be bad can it???

    Do you honestly think you have any individual freedome left.

    Dont laugh it is only just around the corner technology is there already. Given another 5 years of Labour "Control" and we will be well on the way towords it. I have heard this mooted before ten years ago but technology not up to speed then.

  5. Paul says:

    Let's see! Rod Baker's scenario wouldn't last too long until riots will appear and Police Agents get beaten up! Howard's ideas will cost money! I think that the best thing you can do is shoot down those GPS satellites! In fact the police might be sued soon for human rights problem with this system! They might end up having all the money they have from fines being redirected to civil law trials! The company that makes this system can also be sued for human rights also!

  6. Paul says:

    Let's see! Rod Baker's scenario wouldn't last too long until riots will appear and Police Agents get beaten up! Howard's ideas will cost money! I think that the best thing you can do is shoot down those GPS satellites! In fact the police might be sued soon for human rights problem with this system! They might end up having all the money they have from fines being redirected to civil law trials! The company that makes this system can also be sued for human rights also!

  7. Magpie says:

    did this help? not a chance, they name 2 places but i did not see anything on it coming into force! how can this be fair on the drivers when it does not give any clue as to why this has begun! first you ( the police ) can park you police cars in disabled parking bays ” if there is a urgent call for the police to attend a scene “, then you can hide you mobile police van’s and still serve a notice when will this end? we pay our road taxes and you break the law!

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