DUNDEE East MP Stewart Hosie has expressed concern after new figures from Tayside Police revealed that 42 per cent of all cases of speeding offences that were not proceeded with by the procurator fiscal over the past 12 months to March 31 were dropped because they involved a foreign driver or vehicle.
He has now written to the Chief Constable seeking further details on what is being done with the information on these dropped cases.
Figures released under Freedom of Information by Tayside Police show that in the 12 months to March 31, there were 10,727 offences detected by fixed speed cameras, of which 6,591 resulted in paid fines with 1,633 proceeding to court and 2,215 offences not being proceeded with for a variety of reasons. Of these, 945 were because the offences were committed by a visitor from abroad or foreign vehicle.
Mr Hosie told the Guide & Gazette: “I have previously raised concerns over the presence of foreign vehicles on Scottish roads and their drivers’ evasion from punishment for speeding and even parking offences.
“Some of the vehicles are suspected of being unlicensed and untaxed which is a very grave concern but it is certainly not acceptable that anyone committing an offence detected by speed cameras can evade punishment.
“Of the cases over the last year which have been dropped, a surprisingly large proportion, 945 or 42.6 per cent, were not proceeded with by reason of the licence plate being for a visitor from abroad or foreign vehicle. This is a surprisingly large number and it is very concerning.”
The MP continued: “The automatic number plate registering cameras now operated by the DVLA at UK ports means that we must now have the licence plates and therefore the nationality of the vehicles and drivers involved.
“I will be contacting the Chief Constable to inquire whether details of these cases, including the number plate and camera evidence, are passed to the DVLA so that they can ensure that the offenders are being prosecuted in their home countries for the offences.
“I understand that senior traffic police authorities in Europe are working to make it possible to develop information sharing across borders. Figures suggest that foreign drivers account for around five per cent of traffic, but around 15 per cent of speeding offences throughout the countries of the EU so this is not purely a problem in Scotland.”
He concluded: “I do not believe that these cases should simply be dropped altogether and I am seeking reassurance from the police that something is being done with the details of these offences.”
In October of last year it was also revealed that drivers of vehicles registered in non-UK countries may have run up more than £24,500 in unpaid parking fines over the last two years in Dundee.
The Dundee East MP had called for cross-border data-sharing about vehicle ownership in the EU and was informed such a scheme was in process of being negotiated between the EU countries.