An af­ter­noon with Kin­tyre’s traf­fic po­lice

Campbeltown Courier - - NEWS - Words and pho­to­graphs by Mark Davey ed­i­[email protected]­bel­town­

Ve­hi­cles seemed to mag­i­cally slow down as Camp­bel­town’s most ex­pe­ri­enced traf­fic cops mon­i­tored speed. On a cool bright Novem­ber af­ter­noon, in the mid­dle of a Po­lice Scot­land road safety week, Sergeant Archie McGuire and PC Richard Kay in­vited the Courier to see a speed check op­er­a­tion. The lo­ca­tion was the A83 straight by the Glen­craigs farm en­trance. As a sin­gle car­riage­way road it has a max­i­mum speed limit of 60mph for cars, 50mph for goods ve­hi­cles below 7.5 tonnes and 40mph for goods ve­hi­cles over 7.5 tonnes. In the past, car driv­ers trav­el­ling at 120mph have been stopped there and found them­selves in front of a sher­iff fac­ing a ban. Be­fore the of­fi­cers left Camp­bel­town po­lice sta­tion a num­ber of checks on the Amer­i­can-made Cus­tom Pro Laser III speed gun are car­ried out. The de­vice is cal­i­brated each year but be­fore use a pre-de­ter­mined range is checked three times to make sure the gun is within tol­er­ance. The align­ment of the sight­ing mech­a­nism is also checked in the ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal plane. The gun has a range of 6,000ft but is usu­ally used at about 1,000ft. The per­cep­tion is that traf­fic po­lice car­ry­ing out speed checks are hid­den. At the Glen­craigs lo­ca­tion the two of­fi­cers are vis­i­ble for at least a quar­ter of a mile. Sergeant McGuire said: ‘Not ev­ery­one is en­forced (puni­tively) be­cause up to a point we are ed­u­cat­ing driv­ers as well. ‘We might pull some­one in for a chat about their speed. Some­times though that leads to all sorts of other checks.’

Valid li­cence

These might in­clude whether the driver has a valid li­cence and that the ve­hi­cle’s MOT is valid or is the ve­hi­cle in­sured, are the tyres le­gal and do the lights work cor­rectly? The lights and tyres are vi­tally im­por­tant at this time of year and are in­cluded in Po­lice Scot­land’s Fes­tive Road Safety mes­sage. The speed gun is held steadily in both hands and its tar­get sight­ing with a red LED square is aimed at ve­hi­cles. Sergeant McGuire, who has 20 years’ traf­fic polic­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, added: ‘We try to tar­get a flat sur­face at the front of the ve­hi­cle such as the reg­is­tra­tion plate.’ Of­fi­cers try to stand next to the tar­mac at the edge of the road. Stand­ing at an an­gle, to the road causes the speed to reg­is­ter lower as a tri­an­gle is formed and the co­sine ef­fect an­gle al­ters the read­ing, al­ways in the driver’s favour. ‘Of­ten driv­ers pass of­fi­cers car­ry­ing out speed checks and flash at on­com­ing cars,’ said PC Kay, ‘How do they know that the per­son com­ing to­wards them is hon­est, per­haps they have no in­sur­ance or have just bro­ken into some­one’s house.’ About 15 min­utes into the check a driver was stopped (at 73mph) and ac­cepted a fixed penalty no­tice, of three points and a £100 fine. Un­til the end of the op­er­a­tion, no-one else was stopped and ev­ery­one com­plied with the law, many car driv­ers pass­ing at about 55mph. Po­lice Scot­land pub­lishes full road safety ad­vice for driv­ing in the win­ter with par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on the spe­cial haz­ards such as ice, snow and fog. Road safety ad­vice can be found at:­land.po­­tive-safety/ fes­tive-road-safety.

The traf­fic of­fi­cers drove a twin turbo, two-litre diesel BMW. 25_c48­traf­ficpo­lice07

Speed can be checked of ve­hi­cles pass­ing in both di­rec­tions. 25_c48­traf­ficpo­lice04

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