Network Rail cameras to deter level crossing misuse in East Anglia

Network Rail has funded a purpose-built marked police van to be fitted with nine cameras, each of which uses number plate recognition technology to deter motorists from breaking the law. The van is operated by British Transport Police officers and has access to all the systems required to process prosecutions instantly.

Level crossing misuse remains a big issue for the railway, with daily reports of motorists putting lives at risk, causing major delays for passengers and motorists and costing the industry thousands of pounds through damage and disruption. The new mobile camera technology has been introduced to try and change the behaviour of motorists and deter them from jumping lights and swerving around barriers at crossings.

Ellie Reilly, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “Most people who misuse level crossings know that they’re breaking the law, but that doesn’t seem to stop them. Too often other motorists and rail users are caught up in delays and disruption caused by people deliberately ignoring warning lights and jumping barriers at level crossings.

“The new camera van is a strong deterrent for anyone thinking about breaking the law at a level crossing. With the latest technology on board, it means the police can prosecute the small minority who insist on flouting the rules, even in the presence of a marked police van.”

She added: “This is a good example of how Network Rail is investing in the latest technology to deliver a more cost-effective and reliable railway.”

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Superintendent Paul Brogden from the British Transport Police said: “We have a good safety record in comparison to most other countries but misuse of crossings persists, despite our best efforts. Even one death is one too many. Jumping the lights and ignoring warning signs is still sadly a sight we see all too often. Level crossings are safe, but if misused, they pose very real risks.

“Today’s launch gives us another opportunity to drive home the message that running the risk at a level crossing is just not worth it. By trying to save a few seconds, you could end up seriously hurt or losing your life.”

The enforcement vehicle operates at level crossings across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and parts of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and London. Pilot tests at a number of crossings across the region have already shown a dramatic drop in the number of incidents of misuse when the camera van is on location.

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