Speeding traffic on the A6 near Kibworth

Leicestershire Police confirm: ‘not a serious problem’

Lockdown restrictions have seen a huge increase in speeding traffic on the A6? Not according to the Police. Despite catching 70 motorists in July 2019 in a two hour session, as reported by ‘LeicestershireLive’, you might expect a greater incidence of police action after ridiculous speeds were witnessed by many this year. This was not new; the article noted similar driving behaviour in the past, and highlighted recorded speeds of up to 122mph. Speeds recorded in 2020 have been even higher. There has been a suspicion in some quarters that police enforcement measures between March and October 2020 have been less than was merited by the previous radar gun sessions. Two Freedom of Information (FoI) requests eventually revealed the following:

No records of how many separate speed enforcement actions took place between March and October 2020 are available.

Only five motorists caught were either fined or prosecuted – speeds recorded were not less than 93mph.

The full responses from Leicestershire Police will be available on the Kibworth Chronicle website; readers will draw their own conclusions whether the police have fully answered all the questions.

A key point from the FoI responses is that no traffic speeds between 79mph and 92mph were witnessed or recorded. This was either because no traffic passed the radar trap at such speeds, or such traffic was ignored by police.

A quick calculation; assuming 18,000 vehicle journeys per day times 241 days means in excess of 4.3 million journeys. Are the police really trying to have us believe that only five motorists were caught speeding during these enforcement ‘events’? The precise number of these ‘events’ they cannot or will not reveal?

The FoI responses reveal that the police disregard speed limits, over and above a small tolerance for car speedometers

a request for the legal basis to this ‘guideline’ methodology was batted away. This is important because not only do they employ this tactic to be able to say speeding is not a serious issue on the A6 and through Kibworth, but the data from police automatic traffic monitoring sessions – by rubber strips – to assess average speeds includes ALL traffic, regardless whether the speed is above or below limit for the section of road. The resulting average is then measured against the ‘limit+10%+2mph’ guideline. If the average is less than this arbitrary figure the police say ‘not high enough’. If it is greater, then ‘enforcement action may be considered’.

So the police include traffic that does not break the law to decide if average speeds through Kibworth on the A6 are high enough to merit action, ie are breaking… the law. This deliberately understates the true nature of law breaking speeding traffic and is a key reason, among others, why no speed cameras have been sited in Kibworth.

See also: A6 Continuing Traffic Mayhem

Kibworth has been successful in establishing the need for a Community Speed Watch (CSW) – but only for Kibworth Harcourt.

This is despite many Kibworth Beauchamp residents signing up for it. Kevin Feltham is the coordinator, and he has backed the decision to limit any CSW events to the A6 through Harcourt. We are waiting to hear from him when the mandatory training of the 30+ volunteers can go ahead.

Our local councillors have been active in demanding average speed cameras be placed on the A6 for some time. A decision was taken by Leicestershire County Council in October to adopt the ‘Community Speed Enforcement Initiative’ – full text will be on the Kibworth Chronicle website. Three paragraphs are key: paras 56, 57 and 58 i – vi, page 117. In brief; “50% of recorded traffic must exceed police imposed guidelines” (NPPC threshold) and “Communities, in liaison with the County Council, must explore and exhaust all other appropriate options for reducing speed (such as Gateway treatments, Community Speed Watch, Vehicle Activated Signs, mobile Vehicle Activated Signs) before installation of speed cameras is considered.(My emphasis)

County Hall traffic officials have already refused to install Vehicle Activated signs

County Hall traffic officials have already refused to install Vehicle Activated signs (VAS) in the 30mph section of the A6 in Kibworth Harcourt and the CSW is stalled. Furthermore, the FoI response have confirmed that “The road through Kibworth and the A6 in general in that area has been surveyed by the Road Safety Partnership. The recorded speeds… doesn’t meet the criteria for local enforcement and speeding is not a beat priority as defined by responses to the ‘what matters to you’ survey on Neighbourhood Link”. I am reminded that VAS’s are present in other parts of the Kibworths and approaches, some in service, one not at present.

Readers may see, perhaps in starker detail than ever before, the scale of the problem; both County Hall and the police contrive by concentrating on the ‘process’ whether to introduce, rather than implementing, traffic/speed enforcement measures and then assessing their effects. After all, County Hall have acknowledged that the A6 is a problem and the police mantra of ‘speed kills’ is true – despite their comments that the A6 is a ‘race track’, they do not support speed cameras of any kind.

What can be done about speeding traffic on the A6?

One idea might be to register your feelings and (constructive) suggestions on Leicestershire Police Neighbourhood Link webpage. Please consider this as a way of helping all residents and A6 users – apart from the speed merchants. You never know, we might persuade the Chief Constable to pull rank and get some action; he lives in Kibworth Harcourt so you would think he has first-hand knowledge and experience of the issue.

Ian Simpson