England

Police van will monitor level crossing safety in East Anglia

A police van fitted with nine cameras is being used to monitor safety at level crossings in the east of England.

The purpose-built vehicle has been introduced by Network Rail and the British Transport Police.

It will monitor drivers using crossings in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and parts of Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

Number plate recognition technology will be used to identify motorists using the crossings dangerously or illegally.

Network Rail operates 895 level crossings across its Anglia route.

In the past year there were 766 reported incidents of misuse including 68 near misses with vehicles and pedestrians, and 62 incidents of vehicles striking barriers or other level crossing equipment.

'Flouting the rules'

Ellie Reilly, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: "Most people who misuse level crossings know that they're breaking the law, but that doesn't seem to stop them.

"Too often other motorists and rail users are caught up in delays and disruption caused by people deliberately ignoring warning lights, and jumping barriers at level crossings.

"With the latest technology on board, it means the police can prosecute the small minority who insist on flouting the rules, even in the presence of a marked police van."

Network Rail has already piloted the use of the van in parts of the region, and said it had "shown a dramatic drop in incidents of misuse when the camera van is on location".

Motorists identified as using a crossing dangerously will receive a fine within two days of the incident.

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