THE number of safety camera vans operating on the roads of England’s biggest county is set to double as police step up an initiative against rogue motorists.

North Yorkshire has more than 9,000kms of roads – one of the biggest networks in the country – and 51 people died on those roads last year, a 60 per cent jump on the previous 12 months.

Now the executive board of the county’s police force has given the green light to a package of measures to address road safety.

It includes doubling the number of safety camera vans from three to six following research showing the county has fewer enforcement resources compared with other similar-sized areas.

They will come into service next spring and will be used to tackle a whole range of anti-social road use, including speeding, dangerous behaviour and use of mobile phones whilst driving.

Their location will be based on police data on accident blackspots, and in response to requests from local communities where speeding is a proven problem.

The package of measures also includes the development of a community speed watch scheme together with enhanced training and education for road users.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: "Road safety is a challenging and complex issue, and we need to tackle it in a range of ways.

“More enforcement is an effective approach, so it is great news that we will soon have more mobile safety camera vans to deploy in safety hotspots, but this alone won't solve the problem.

“Many road-users don't think of themselves as anti-social so they continue to take risks until they are involved in a collision, and tragically we have seen a number of serious incidents recently where people have lost their lives.”

The move follows a survey by the county’s police and crime commissioner, Julia Mulligan, which shows the vast majority or residents – 80 per cent – felt road safety was a serious concern.

“I hope that the activities we have announced today will make a significant contribution to reducing fatalities, injuries and anti-social behaviour on our roads,” said Mrs Mulligan.

"By approving the proposals we have increased North Yorkshire Police's capacity for enforcement to bring it into line with that of other comparable Forces - but I would also like to call upon the region's drivers, bikers and cyclists to play their part, and help us to keep the roads safe for everyone."