Police probe ‘speed trap’ allegations

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Police have found that operators of the traffic camera network have been deviating from protocols on setting up mobile speed checkpoints, prompting a wave of complaints from motorists claiming they are being trapped.

According to Phileleftheros daily, the police are looking into reports and complaints from the public that camera operators were setting up motorists to get caught by overstepping their jurisdiction.

Photos and videos on social media show the vans used by handlers, hidden in trees and bushes, while also placed on roads with fluctuating speed limits to ‘trap’ motorists.

In comments to Phileleftheros police spokesperson, Christos Andreou confirmed that a meeting was held over the matter last week.

Andreou said following the meeting, Police Chief Stelios Papatheodorou gave instructions to re-evaluate the points assigned to operators to ensure they are not near traffic lights or signs indicating a change in speed limit.

Also, the force will be carrying out checks to ensure that mobile cameras are situated correctly.

Andreou admitted that officers had found that in some cases, while the list of points given to mobile camera operators indicated an exact location on a specific road, they were found at a different point than the one indicated.

The police spokesperson said that officers would also be looking into claims that operators are not placing warning signs according to protocol.

In one case, a photo taken by a motorist showed the van carrying the mobile camera parked in a ditch at the side of the road.

Andreou said the van driver had stopped there to place a warning sign and moved further down the road to use the camera at the designated point.

According to law, camera operators are obliged to place a warning sign at a minimum of 100 metres before the camera, but photos taken by motorists show the sign set up just a few metres from the van.

Police will meet Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades and the operator company to discuss issues arising with mobile camera handlers.

Andreou said the force would also look at ways of protecting handlers after recent attacks against them.

In one instance, a van was shot at by someone aiming with a hunting gun.

On several occasions, handlers have been harassed by motorists who park their vehicles behind the van blocking the speed camera.

At the moment, this does not constitute a crime.

So far, the number of fixed cameras is 24, while another 12 mobile cameras are in action.

Based on the contract given to US operators Conduent State & Local Solutions, by the end of the year, the contracting company should have installed and delivered another 66 cameras in fixed points covering all cities except Famagusta, which only gets mobile units.

Once the €34 mln system is fully operational, there will be 90 fixed units in 30 locations and 20 mobile cameras.