We have a received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following:
“I am instructed by both Counsel and the defence Solicitors to ascertain the meaning of, and operational requirements set out in certain terms related to the ‘attended actively operated’, under the Home Office Type Approval for the tripod mounted Gatsometer BV24 + AUS speed detection device.
Whilst this enquiry is made in somewhat general terms, I am mindful that certain information may or may not have to be extracted from or provided by copying documents, correspondence or electronic information. This may lead to a reluctance on the part of some to provide information to a third party. Should it be the case that the information I request is not freely available, then under those circumstances, I ask that this request be treated as having been made under the Freedom of Information Act.
The matters I am currently assisting with await trial in a number of hearings in the Crown Court.
There are also a number of cases awaiting trial in the lower Courts and, I am advised that the fact this request has been made to the Home Office Scientific Development Branch will form part of a number of submissions to the relevant Judge(s) in each of the hearings.
For your information, a number of these cases are very close to their relevant hearing dates, I therefore ask that my request be treated as urgent.
The particular area with which I am currently concerned relates to the ACPO requirement set out in the ‘Operating Criteria’, page 94 in ACPO 2004 Version 2.3 (copy below) this appears to mirror, albeit only in part, the terminology used by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch.
That terminology has been repeated in Chapter 3 of the Home Office publication; The Speedmeter Handbook (Fourth Edition) by Dr S R Lewis.
The relevant section is contained in Page 6 at point 3.1 of your Publication No 15/05, I quote:
“Attended actively operated Equipment designed to be set up and actively operated by a trained user. The accuracy of the evidence from such equipment is verified by the operator in every case at the time of the offence. Such equipment may or may not record an image of an offending vehicle, but its operations are at all times supervised and controlled by the operator, whose evidence of the offence is crucial.”
I ask: Knowing the device as a tripod mounted Gatsometer BV24 + AUS precisely what does, or did, the Home Office mean by the use of the following terms:
a. Verified by the operator in every case
b. At the time of the offence
c. Its operations are at all times supervised and controlled by the operator
d. Whose evidence of the offence is crucial
I ask: What process/part does, or did, the Home Office intend an operator to undertake during the period the Gatsometer BV24 + AUS is actively employed as a speed detection enforcement system in order to meet “Type Approved” standards..”
We released the following information on 23 March 2007.