HC Deb 20 May 1965 vol 712 cc1644-5
6. Mr. Frank Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that the use of radar traps, when the equipment is operated by a single policeman, can give misleading readings if not expertly operated; and if he will take steps to bar the use of this equipment in those circumstances.

Mr. George Thomas

My right hon. and learned Friend is satisfied that adequate instruction is give to police officers as to the location and use of radar speed meters, and that it would be contrary to practice for a case to be brought to court if there was doubt as to the identification of the vehicle under observation. It is for the courts to assess the adequacy of the evidence in cases brought before them.

Mr. Taylor

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in a recent case a police officer stated in court that he was an experienced radar operator—"seven years, no other qualification"—but that he went on later to admit that when he was trained he had the "usual half-hour's training at headquarters", presumably, seven years ago? Would not the hon. Gentleman admit that this was apparently his total qualification for calling himself a qualified radar operator? Does not the hon. Gentleman know that there are radar instruments in existence—I have here a brochure—which are made abroad and which identify the car by photographing it while at the same time identifying the speed by photographing the speed counter on the radar instrument, so completely obviating the risk of error by a policeman? Is he not——

Mr. Speaker

Order. I think that we had better find out if the hon. Gentleman is "aware" as far as we have got.

Mr. Thomas

I am aware of that document and I have a very good answer for it—to a later Question. As for the officer having had half-an-hour's training, I do not know the case. I should think that it was not in Wales or in the Metropolitan area. I should he glad to receive details from the hon. Gentleman and I will certainly look into them.