The number of motorists in Northamptonshire found by mobile police speed cameras to be speeding increased last year.
Figures issued by the force following a freedom of information request showed there were 72 vehicles a day last year which broke the speed limit at sites patrolled by the force’s vans.
And a quarter of drivers were exceeding the threshold which would allow them to take a speed awareness course rather than have points on their licence.
More than 24,500 vehicles across the county were recorded breaking the speed limit between January 1 and December 5 last year, despite all the county’s fixed-point cameras having been switched off in April 2011.
The daily average of 72.4 is up on the equivalent 2012 figure of 66.7. In 2011, an average of 57.7 speeding motorists were recorded per day by the mobile cameras.
The A605 Thrapston bypass was the road on which police recorded the most speeding motorists in 2013, with 1,602 breaching the 40mph limit. Of those, 341 were going at 54mph or more.
Safer roads team manager at Northamptonshire Police Mike Johnson said: “Speed limits are there for a reason.”
Officers patrol at nearly 150 locations across the county, and do not have a rota of when they will be at any particular point.
Mr Johnson said: “You never know where we will be or when we will be there.
“It’s not a free-for-all – we don’t just pitch up wherever we like.
“There’s a lot of science. It’s always supported with some sort of data or evidence.”
But he also said it was difficult to determine whether or not speeding was becoming more of a problem.
He added: “We might go to a site and get 20 offences. Another day we might go to the same site and get one.”
In 2011 25,005 offences were processed – although that year includes three months in which the fixed-point cameras were still switched on – while in 2012 there were 20,479 and last year 22,117. Mr Johnson said the vast majority of those offences were for speeding, but some were for when enforcement officers spotted a driver using a mobile phone or not wearing a seatbelt.
Not all those occasions where a vehicle was recorded as going over the speed limit resulted in the offence being processed. For example, when police were unable to record a clear image of the registration number or the driver’s face.
Police have also encouraged more communities to sign up for their speedwatch initiative, which involves residents manning hand-held cameras and reporting their findings to police.
Desborough Town Council chairman Cllr David Coe said the scheme was due to be begin in the town shortly, with 20 volunteers to be trained to use the speed guns.
He said: “We are still concerned about speeding and are trying to do all we can to reduce it,” and added that the main road through Desborough – the former A6 – was among the worst-affected.
He said: “It’s always been bad. It’s perhaps got a little worse [since the fixed cameras were turned off]. People are doing virtually what they want.”
A similar trend was reported by Alan Curtis, the co-ordinator of the scheme in Isham.
He said: “Speed has been increasing over the past few years. It’s getting worse.”
Where motorists were speeding
A605 Thrapston bypass: 1,602 offences recorded, 1,261 at or below speed awareness course threshold
Weldon Road, Corby: 1,179, 867
Northampton Road, Earls Barton: 710, 645
Deeble Road, Kettering: 562, 454
Thrapston Road, Finedon: 558, 461
Oakley Road, Corby: 536, 426
Doddington Road, Wellingborough: 463, 375
Gispy Lane, Irchester: 393, 291
Kettering Road, Islip: 355, 305
Irchester Road, Wollaston: 336, 304
Oundle Road, Thrapston: 276, 241
Cobbs Lane, Wollaston: 260, 218
Irthlingborough Road, Finedon: 209, 169
Chelveston Road, Raunds: 147, 104
Mears Ashby Road, Earls Barton: 133, 116
Main Street, Rockingham: 124, 113
Harrowden Road, Wellingborough: 81, 77
Wellingborough Road, Finedon: 70, 61
Doddington Road, Earls Barton: 59, 54
Thrapston Road, Finedon: 42, 35
Northampton Road, Rushden: 36, 34
Wansford Road, Yarwell: 34, 31
Steel Road, Corby: 30, 26
Oundle Road, Upper Benefield: 26, 18
Harrold Road, Bozeat: 18, 11
Carlton Road, Wilbarston: 17, 17
Doddington Road, Wellingborough: 10, 9
London Road, Bozeat: 6, 5
Kettering Road, Geddington: 5, 0
Kettering Road, Isham: 4, 3
Hookhams Path, Wollaston: 4, 3
Elmington, near Oundle: 4, 2
Wellingborough Road, Sywell: 2, 2
A6 east of A14 junction 10, Burton Latimer: 1, 1