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Mobile Speed Cameras Explained

There are many different types of mobile speed cameras in use on UK roads. These include:

‣mini gatso - similar to fixed position Gatso speed cameras
‣safety camera partnership teams
‣random police checks in marked or unmarked cars
‣radar guns - explained below
‣laser guns - explained below
‣DS2 - semi-permanent mobile speed cameras click here to read more.

How does a laser gun work?

Laser handheld speed camera guns use a narrow beam of light about 10cm wide. This laser beam bounces from the target vehicle and provides the police officer with a speed reading. The speed is displayed within 0.5 seconds of use meaning speed camera detectors do not have long to warn you that laser is in use. The range of laser guns is about 1 mile.

Pictured below a vehicle is targeted by a mobile laser speed camera gun. The laser sight is targeted on flat surface of the vehicle, in this case the vehicle's car boot door.

The second photo confirms:

Time: 13:35
Date: 21-04-17
Distance from laser gun to vehicle: 0462.1 metres
Target vehicle speed: 103MPH

How does a radar gun work?

Radar handheld devices use radio waves to target a vehicle. As a vehicle passes the radio waves these are reflected back at the radar receiver allowing the handheld radar gun to work out how fast the vehicle is traveling. The speed reading takes no less than 3 seconds for the police officer to acquire. The range of these systems is about 300 yards.

Do you have a question about mobile speed cameras? You can read UK motorist's mobile speed camera questions and answers and you can also ask your own unanswered question via our online form. Alternatively, read UK drivers mobile speed camera comments.

Marked and unmarked Police cars

Although there are many devices at the Police's disposal to measure and record speed, they can also just use the speedometer fitted in their vehicle. If they suspect a speeding motorist then they can simply follow him or her for a minimum of 2/10 mile or 1056 feet to pull the motorist over and depending on the speed give a warning, issue a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) or for much higher speeds consider court action. This type of speed check is known as a 'follow check' and can be via a marked or unmarked Police cars. However, their speedometer must be certifiably calibrated correctly and regularly tested.

Mobile Speeed Camera Targets Car

5:22am and dark. I was approaching entry to M40 southbound and noticed a police car parked on the motorway bridge (he was facing me parked on the pavement) - the speed limit drops to 40 from 50 there. I think I wasn't over 40 but I thought it was a bit sneaky of him if he was blipping cars coming towards him. He had his headlights on which masked the fact that he was a police car. Very sneaky!! Comment from UK motorist.

Speeding campaigns

Police officers in different counties across the UK often have a 'Speeding Campaign' of some form particularly during festive times when there are more motorists on the road and when people have busier schedules.

Residents of villages and communities are sometimes given laser guns to check the speed of motorists through their town or village. Though they cannot result in a prosecution the information will be passed on the police and could result in a warning letter being sent.

Points and Penalties

The absolute minimum penalty for being caught speeding on the UK's roads increased 66.7% in July 2013 from £60 to £100 fine. A minimum of 3 penalty points will also be added to your licence.

However, depending on the road speed limit and your actual recorded speed in the speeding offence a court summons may be generated in place of the Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) through the post. Read more about speeding fines.

Mobile locations

What is your view and experiences with mobile speed cameras in the UK? Tell us and read more mobile speed camera comments. Alternatively, if you have a question relating to mobile speed cameras, please see our mobile speed camera Q&A page.

Want to know where the UK's mobile speed camera trap are as you drive? Here at SpeedCamerasUK.com we have a UK database of speed camera locations. This database also includes Gatso, SpeedCurb, Truvelo, Truvelo D-Cam, SPECS, Peek, Traffic Light speed cameras and more. Read more about the speed camera types.

Mobile speed camera alerts as you drive

Last updated: 11th September 2023