Police forces reveal how fast you ACTUALLY have to go to get caught speeding

Police forces reveal how fast you ACTUALLY have to go to get caught speeding

EVER wondered what speed you actually have to be doing to get caught by a speed camera?

Could even 1mph over the limit do it? Or maybe you heard it was 10 per cent?

Forces across the country have now cleared up the matter – and revealed the ‘buffer zone’ on cameras is anything up to 9mph over the designated limit.

However, before you go breaking the limit, be warned – the police force applies this rule at its discretion, so as well as it being dangerous, pushing your luck might also still get you fined.


Specialist car title Auto Express asked all police forces in the country what discretion they applied to speed cameras before they caught and fined drivers.

While some forces refused to reveal the speed threshold, others have provided the information.

Essex Police has said they don’t use a standard threshold like some other forces.

However, on their educational driving courses, the Safer Essex Roads Partnership advises that Essex works on a basis of 10 per cent plus 2 mph.

So, that means on a 30mph limit road, the cameras will allow 36mph.

40mph limits the threshold is 46mph.

50mph areas, the threshold is 57mph

60mph limit, the threshold is 68mph

70mph limit, the threshold is 79mph.

Of the 34 UK police forces which shared information on when their speed cameras activate if a driver is going above the speed limit, most of them have a tolerance of 10 per cent plus 2mph before a speed camera ‘flashes’.

The exceptions are Lancashire Police and London’s Met Police (and TfL), which allow 10 per cent and 3mph.

However, some forces refused to reveal if they operated a threshold on speed.

Why does it exist?

This ‘buffer zone’ exists in order to improve driver safety – as AA president Edmund King puts it.

He said: “The last thing we want is drivers glued to the speedometer 100 per cent of the time. We want drivers to concentrate on the road ahead.

Speedometers are also not 100 per cent accurate – they are allowed to ‘over read’ the speed by up to 10 per cent.

However, for safety reasons they are not permitted to ‘under read’ the speed a car is going.

Will I get away with it?

Hedging your bets and speeding because of these thresholds is not only dangerous, but it could land you with a fine, according to comparison site Confused.com

The tolerance levels for speeding are at the discretion of the police force.

Therefore they’re within their rights to punish any driver that flouts the limit even by a few miles per hour.

In 2017 the rules on speeding fines changed so that they were based on a percentage of your weekly income.

This is in addition to getting points on your licence. 

All the UK police forces

Avon and Somerset

10% + 2mph


Wouldn’t reveal threshold


Wouldn’t reveal threshold


10% + 2mph


10% + 2mph


10% + 2mph

Devon and Cornwall

10% + 2mph


10% + 2mph


Don’t use a standard threshold

Greater Manchester

Wouldn’t reveal threshold


10% + 2mph


10% + 2mph


Wouldn’t reveal threshold


10% + 2mph


10% + 3mph


10% + 2mph


10% + 2mph

Metropolitan Police / TfL

10% + 3mph


10% + 2mph

North Wales

10% + 2mph


10% + 2mph


Wouldn’t confirm if threshold exists

Northern Ireland

10% + 2mph


Wouldn’t confirm if threshold exists

South Wales

10% + 2mph

South Yorkshire

10% + 2mph


Wouldn’t reveal threshold


10% + 2mph

Thames Valley

10% + 2mph


10% + 2mph

West Mercia

10% + 2mph

West Midlands

Wouldn’t reveal threshold

West Yorkshire

10% + 2mph

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