Why is so much paperwork issued with a speeding offence?

I was recently (January) caught speeding in a temporary speed limit area on a dual carriageway in Essex. Whilst I am not complaining about being caught (I am quite prepared to accept a fine and points) I do feel that the attendant paperwork is over the top and a serious waste of police time. To give you an idea of the extent of the bureaucracy here is a summary.

On 19 January (the offence was on the 16th) a 3-page letter was sent to my employers as registered keepers to establish the normal user of car. This was returned by my employers on the 28th Jan. On 11 February I received a 3-page letter asking me to confirm who was driving the car at the time of the offence, to which I owned up. On 6 May I received a 31-page document containing a summons to appear in court for the prosecution of costs of £80, a 2-page statement from the PC operating the laser, photocopies of all the original documents (above) in both their completed and uncompleted states, photocopies of the enclosing envelopes used and a certificate (presumably) of the laser equipment’s efficacy.

This amount of bureaucracy cannot be a good use of police time, particularly when front line policing levels are due to be cut back. Even if most of it is completed by admin staff, it smacks of the police focussing on soft crimes in order to reach their quotas. If I chose to plead not guilty in court, the PC operating the speed gun would be required to appear and read his statement as well. How can this be a good use of police time? There has to be a better way.

Asked on 12 May 2011 by CG, Ashford, Kent

Answered by Honest John
The ACPO guideline (only a guideline) is to issue a summons for speeding in a 50 if the driver is doing at least 76mph. But on Monday 9 May Transport Secretary Philip Hammond proposed simple spot fines (as in Spain) administered by police, and this caused an immediate outcry. I agree with you and him. Simple spot fines of £200 for the standard ACPO fixed penalty speeds with no penalty points, and graded fines with increasing penalty points for higher speeds, as they already have in Spain and Germany, with no need for any court appearance or sheaf of paperwork if the driver does not contest.
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