Martin Williams of the Glasgow Herald recently ran the following story in which he claimed issues exist in relation to use of the VASCAR speed detection device.
"Now their reliability is being questioned after the professional voice of
police leadership in Scotland advised forces to stop using the Vascar (Vehicle
Average Speed Computer and Recorder), Police Pilot and Provida speed scanners
while a "potential issue" is resolved.
Strathclyde Police has banned their use following a warning from the
Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland that there was a particular
concern about their use alongside the emergency services' Airwave digital
It is also understood that there is disquiet about the effect of radio waves
from mobile phones, pagers, and radio and TV transmitters, CB radios and amateur
It has raised the question of the validity of a horde of speeding
Speed was said to be a factor in 29% of the 3000 road deaths that occurred on
Britain's roads in the same year.
Graham Walker, a Glasgow- based lawyer who specialises in fighting road
traffic cases, said: "This development would give us a lot of ammunition. The
first thing we would do in fighting these cases is to instruct experts to look
at these machines and give evidence on why they cannot be relied upon.
"With every client where I have a case pending, we will now investigate and
look at the whole issue of interference and ask for disclosure from the police
and the Crown to find out what information they have about reliability."
The Vascar and Police Pilot are in-car speed detection devices. They can
either be used to measure time taken over a pre-determined distance or while
following a vehicle on the road.
Vascar units were first fitted to police vehicles as early as the mid-1970s
and are among the most popular "weapons of choice" for catching speeders.
The Provida is an in-car speed detector linked to a video camera, which is a
familiar site on reality police TV programmes such as Police Camera Action.
For all three detection systems, police officers must trigger switches that
start and stop the timing devices. Device error, often blamed on the officer
using a unit, is often brought up as a defence when motorists challenge
charges.Clearly all specialist road traffic solicitors will have serious concerns about the use of these device and will require to make their own investigations about why Chief Inspector Andrew orr's office would allow such a memo to be dispatched.
ACPO have since issued another memo claiming that all is well where the device is used in accordance with the normal ACPO guideline but these guidelines were written before the introduction of the Airwave devices.
The moral of this story is get a specialist solicitor to help win your case if you have been charged by the police using VASCAR equipment. The vascar is usually used from apolice car following you and subsequently pulling you over for a verbal warning and a ticket however they can issue written Notices of Intended proscution where the VASCAR has been used to time your vehicel from a stationary observation position. If in doubt contact a specialist firm at the earliest opportunity.