While there is no national policy for speeding rules which are generally applied as National Standards by the police and the CPS. It is right that most forces apply a similar level of discretion to speeding, but be careful – the guidelines, largely followed by most forces, are discretionary. Technically being caught at 41mph in a 40mph zone is an offence attracting three points and, if you go to Court, a fine of about half of your weekly income and a victim surcharge.

However, just about everyone-police, magistrates and Crown Prosecution Service – realise putting three points on licences for 1mph over the limit would result in a huge backlash. Therefore discretion is applied, but remember once you break the speed limit you are committing an offence and the police officer can write you up if his/her calibrated speedo indicates a breach.

Certain proportionality safe guards are implied into the Crown Prosecution Service’s prosecution standards which mirror the 2013 association of Police Chief Officer’s guidelines. But remember these don’t have force of law.

To give an example, 22mph in a 20mph limit would be ignored because of the device tolerance, and the device is your speedo. However, laser speed detectors are fearsomely accurate, so let’s take a worked example of speeding in a 40mph zone, probably the police’s happiest hunting ground. At 42mph the police would not stop you as your speedo may be reading 40mph-46mph, but if they did their starting point would be a few words of advice and a ‘mind how you go’. Unless you want a fun day at a speed awareness course avoid asking said officer if he, ‘hasn’t got any real criminals to catch.’

46mph to 53mph puts you into the speed awareness bracket Which, contrary to urban myth does not load your insurance with just about any reputable insurer. 53mph to 66mph in a 40mph zone could get you back into a driver awareness course, but some grovelling might be necessary. However, a fixed penalty and a fine is the usual outcome at this level, and 66mph in a 40 zone is going to get you summonsed.

As a general proposition if the police officer starts scolding you, shut up, look contrite and take it. There is an unwritten rule among the police that you either get written up or you get bollocked, but not both. If you fire back during the bollocking the officer will form the view that you are not learning from his or her wise words. The police officer will usually then halt mid-flow, because you must learn your lesson the hard and expensive way, and the officer’s mouth will set to a firm line and out will come the notebook and verbal notice of intention to prosecute.

Andrew Dalton

Bike Magazine January 2018