Expert Fitting Service

Fixed Installation Post Gatso

Gatso Camera   Copyright  Steve Warren. Gatso Camera   Copyright Steve Warren.

The grey box, known as the FIP (Fixed Installation Post), it has two windows in the front. The top one is the camera, and the one in the bottom corner is the flash. The radar is the darker grey rectangle in the middle. Generally infallible they carry an 800-frame roll of film which has to be changed.

These cameras are situated at locations with a bad accident record caused by speeding vehicles. The units use a very sophisticated 'Doppler radar' system to measure the speed of passing vehicles. When a vehicle exceeds a preset threshold, the device is activated taking two photographs half a second apart. The photographs show the date and time of the offence, together with the speed recorded. The unit takes between three and four hundred readings of a single vehicle as it passes through the beam. There must not be a greater speed variation on all of these readings of more than two miles per hour or the device will abort the test. Some Models can also differentiate between large vehicles and cars so a lower activation threshold can be set for large goods vehicles and coaches.

One Web site reports that you can tell if a Gatso is in operation by the vent holes on the back. If the holes are open, "dark" then it's working and ready to take a picture. If they are closed, "light" then it is not in operation. This is untrue, these are not vents - they are, in fact, access ports for the case locks. If they have been left open, it means that someone has recently been fiddling with the camera and has forgotten to secure them. So if the ports are open, it would suggest that there is a camera in the GATSO.

Gatso Camera
Above: Don't say your weren't warned!

However, just because the ports are closed it doesn't mean that the GATSO has no camera or film in.

Incidentally, filling these holes with expanding foam would not prevent the camera from working - it would merely serve to inconvenience the operator who has to change the film.

The camera uses standard 35mm film which is on a long reel. It is viewed in a viewer which converts the image to a TV screen where the operator looks at the vehicle make model and reg.no that is all the picture /operator is looking for. If it shows the driver/passengers that is a bonus!.

It is NOT the job of the police to prove who the driver of the vehicle was. It is the responsibility of the Registered Keeper to tell the police that information. If you fail to do this within a specified time period (usually 28 days) then the Police will prosecute you for the offence of failing to give name and address of the driver which carries up to £1000 fine and 3 points.

Your request for photographic evidence does not stop the clock ticking for the 28 day period. If the police accept the details that you give of another person driving, then this other person must accept that they were the driver for you to comply with the law under S172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988..again if they don't the Summons comes back to you. Remember the offence is failing to give the name and address of the driver.

Most Police forces will allow you to see the original evidence at the place of storage (usually the Ticket Office) by prior arrangement. This is on the special viewer. This is a concession not a right. If you go not guilty to a summons then a copy of the photo and other papers will be served on you prior to the court hearing.



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