Laser Jammers and the Law
There is no law as yet regarding the purchase of a Laser Jammer or the fitting of one on a motor vehicle. (as of Jan 2009) However the first arrest was made in February 2003 regarding the use of a Laser Jammer. The person was arrested for "Perverting the course of Justice" nothing really came of it in court.
This offence is very serious and carries 7 years in Jail. It is normally used to deal with people that are caught out telling lies to get away with something or gain something without actually going to court and perjuring themselves in the witness box.
Usually, the offence used to deal with interfering with speed trap readings or the speed traps themselves, such as large notices before the trap advertising its position and it is in operation, would be 'Obstruction of Police in execution of duty'.
I would imagine that because this chap was deemed to be actively employing a system to purposefully demonstrate his ability to avoid prosecution, that the officer stopping him, used the offence of Perverting Justice to justify his arrest. Obstruction of Police has no power of arrest unless it is used in conjunction with the General Power under Sect 25 PACE 1984
Perverting Justice is an indictable offence (Crown Court only and very expensive).
Obstruction of Police is a visit to the Magistrates Court only and is much cheaper.
A friend of mine who has been using a jammer for over 4 years got arrested this week. (Dec 04)
Here is the story of what happened.
At 6 am a police car and a low loader turned up outside his home. He was arrested and the car was loaded on to the low loader. He was taken to the local police station, his car was taken to the police vehicle inspection unit. The jammer was tested to see if it jammed, as you can expect it did. The jammer was removed, 50min job.
In the mean time my friend was questioned and then was charged with "perverting the course of justice". The worrying part is this. He had been seen in one county by a laser camera van that could not get his speed. A few months later he had been seen in another county by a separate safety camera van again it could not get his speed.
This then sparked the event at 6 am .... How you ask..
It has turned out, after speaking to several contacts in the police force, they have had the camera equipment software modified to photograph any vehicle that throw up an error, any error. When the video is checked at the camera units base and an error is reported the event is logged as a warning flag on the PNC database (police database).
When another camera van operator takes his video back to base to check over, if he discovers an error he will check on the PNC database to see if there are any warning flags on that vehicle.
If there are no flags on the PNC for that car then one is added. If the PNC has a flag on it saying they have had a problem in the past they will investigate further. This was the case for my friend and the guy in Northampton
To make matters worse my friend was not speeding on both occasions.
As I have said he was charged and then bailed to reappear. I let you know the outcome in late January.
UPDATE 12th Jan 2005: It has now been referred to Crown Court. No date yet set. Charge: Perverting the Course of Justice
UPDATE 28th Jan 2005: The Trail date has been set for 8th April 2005
UPDATE 14th March 2005: FANTASTIC NEWS..... Totally out of the blue, the CPS have dropped the case and no reason was given to why.
I believe that because my friend was going to put up a fight, with I may add, the assistance of a top notch solicitor, the CPS got cold feet and did not want to expose themselves to a failure. If they had failed they would have clarified the law to existing users of jammers. Jammers will be banned under the proposed law so maybe they have decided to wait it out until the law is set in stone.
I have had a chance today to talk to several police forces and the DoT and they can confirm this is what they have all been doing. It is because the DoT wanted to know just how many jammers were in use in the UK. The belief is that there are over a million jammers fitted to cars in the UK. I think this figure is a little high but you never know.
This work has been conducted to gather data prior to the proposed application for a ban in January 2005. If the ban goes through its expected to take effect within 6 months.
The ban will cover, Radar Detectors and Laser jammers. GPS will be safe as they have no intention to ban them.
Wording from the DOT.
Thank you for your email about speed camera detectors.
It is for this reason that we propose to prohibit devices that prevent or interfere with this police activity. Clause 17 of the Road Safety Bill gives the Secretary of State the power to prohibit the fitting of, or the use of vehicles carrying, speed assessment equipment detection devices. It defines such devices as a device one or more of whose purposes is to interfere with or detect the operation of equipment used to assess the speed of motor vehicles.
The precise details of which devices would be prohibited will be set out in supplementary secondary legislation. This will be done following full consultation with interested people. It is not intended to prohibit Global Positioning Systems which usefully give drivers information on the location of published camera sites.
Arrest over speed trap 'jammer' - December 2004 - Northampton News
"The partnership will not tolerate the use of such diffuser devices" Sergeant Gary Smart, Northamptonshire Police
The gadget, which is also known as the LRC 100 Laser Diffuser,
works by alerting the driver to laser speed detectors and temporarily
stopping it from taking a speed-reading. The car had been recorded
speeding on sixteen different occasions around Northamptonshire
and the Buckinghamshire area. However, a reading of how fast
it was travelling could not be obtained because the jammer device
interfered with the detectors. "The motorist in question has
since been arrested for perverting the course of justice and
has admitted the offence," said Sergeant Gary Smart from Northamptonshire
Police. "The partnerships will not tolerate the use of such
John Rowling, Safety Camera Partnership "While the
legislation has been passed making it illegal to use radar diffusers,
there is currently no legislation in place regarding the laser
devices," said John Rowling from the Northamptonshire Safety Camera
Partnership. "Although the government are looking at this important
issue. "The use of such devices is extremely dangerous as it gives
the motorist licence to drive at inappropriate speeds, putting
the safety of other road users at risk.
Arrest over speed trap 'jammer'
The device stopped the camera taking speed readings
A south Wales motorist has become the first person in Britain to be arrested for using an electronic jammer to confuse speed traps. The driver was found with a laser diffuser device in the vehicle by police in south Wales under a drive called the Safety Camera Partnership.
The gadget, which is also known as a jammer, works by alerting the driver to laser speed detectors and temporarily stopping it from taking a speed reading. The car had been recorded speeding on six different occasions around Cardiff and the south Wales valleys. However, a reading of how fast it was travelling could not be obtained because the jammer device interfered with the detectors.
"The motorist in question has since been arrested for perverting the course of justice and has admitted the offence," said Sergeant Gary Smart from South Wales Police. "The partnership will not tolerate the use of such diffuser devices. "Clearly people using devices of this sort have the inclination to drive without due regard for speed limits, and are obstructing officers in the course of their duty," he added.
In the South Wales Police force area there are 33 static speed camera sites and 41 traffic signal sites. An additional 103 mobile sites with 11 mobile units are also used to catch speeding motorists. Sophisticated devices to stop the cameras from taking speed readings can be bought from specialist website's. They work by flashing a strong laser signal to the speed detector which causes a temporary error in the equipment and prevents a speed reading being taken.
John Rowling, Safety Camera Partnership "While the legislation has been passed making it illegal to use radar diffusers, there is currently no legislation in place regarding the laser devices," said John Rowling from the Safety Camera Partnership. "Although the government are looking at this important issue. "The use of such devices is extremely dangerous as it gives the motorist licence to drive at inappropriate speeds, putting the safety of other road users at risk. "I hope this arrest acts as a clear warning to those using such devices to enable them to drive in excess of the legal speed limit," he added.
The Story From BBC News @ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/2744329.stm
MOTORISTS USING SPEED JAMMERS
Published in News & Star on Monday, March 1st 2004, By Mary Ingham and Pam McClounie
The devices can be easily bought on the internet, but Cumbria police are warning motorists that using a speed camera jammer could land them in court.
Carlisle motorist Nigel Robert James Potter, 21, of Crosshill Drive, became one of the first in the county to be on the wrong side of the law when he was caught by police on London Road in Carlisle last year.
At Eden Magistrates' Court Potter admitted obstructing a constable by fitting a jamming device to his car which prevented police recording his speed.
Suspicions about Mr Potter first came to light in June last year when PC Ivison used a safety camera to check the speed of a Vauxhall Carleton on Linstock Bridge over the M6 motorway.
Prosecutor Mike Fisher said that for seven seconds the officer's laser equipment gave an error message but no speed reading.
PC Ivison made inquiries and was told that the message would only appear if a laser jamming device was being used.
In September another police officer, PC Cox, was operating a safety camera on London Road when the same error message came on as he tried to get a speed reading for a Vauxhall Carleton, said Mr Fisher.
The car was traced to Potter and was seized and examined. A USA-made jamming device was found, termed a "diffuser" and costing £349.
In mitigation, Gail Heard said Potter, who had no previous convictions, had bought the device without instructions for £10 from a friend and had thought it was a radar detector, which would have been legal.
A speed check on a wagon travelling close behind Potter indicated he had not been speeding.
Potter had to pay £138 for the recovery wagon used by the police to take away his car and had been without the car for a month.
Eden magistrates gave Potter a six-month conditional discharge and ordered the forfeit and destruction of the jammer.
A police spokesman said: "We advise motorists not use jamming devices because the police will eventually catch them and prosecute them."
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