A CAMPAIGN aimed at tackling speeding drivers launches next week, as new legislation is brought in nationally to help civilian speed camera operators carry out their work.

Legislation being introduced across Cleveland and Durham Police force areas will mean obstructing police constable laws will now apply to camera operators.

Both forces have reported a number of incidents involving speed camera vans and their operators who have been targeted by motorists.

Cleveland Police reported that one driver was charged with a public order offence after trying to gain access to the van.

The Northern Echo:

Sgt Sandra Dent with a speed camera

Another incident in Stockton saw an operator obstructed by a member of the public, but the suspect had fled the scene prior to police arriving.

The offence took place in the same location where windows on a police camera van were damaged by bricks a few weeks earlier.

Throughout 2018 Cleveland and Durham forces found 31,520 drivers putting lives at risk by travelling above the speed limit.

As part of the upcoming campaign, roads with 20mph speed limits will also see enforcement action.

Inspector Jon Curtis, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “Each speeding driver puts at least one life at risk each time they speed – their own, anyone else in their vehicle and any other motorists or pedestrians using the road.

"The figures show that more than 2,500 people were found speeding on our roads every month last year and this demonstrates that our continued action is essential for helping to keep people as safe as we possibly can.

“Our priority is to target areas known to have a history of speed-related road traffic collisions, as well as areas impacting on the quality of life of the public of County Durham, Darlington and Cleveland, concerning the excessive number of speeding vehicles in their communities.

“No one should obstruct a camera operator from doing their job, it is illegal. Speeding contributes towards one quarter of all serious and fatal collisions.

"The introduction of the new legislation will help assist our civilian camera operators by protecting them from the very small number of people who, through their actions, seek to prevent the police from fulfilling the desire of the wider community to have safer roads.”