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Smart Motorways (100A/21)

Request

I am seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in relation to the enforcement of lane closures on smart motorways.

I understand that since June 2019 police forces have been permitted to use traffic cameras to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to drivers who ignore “red X” signs (indicating the closure of a lane) which is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988.

I am seeking information about this enforcement process. To that end, can you tell me:

1) How many miles of smart motorways do you have in your police force area? Please list these by motorway and junction sections.

2) Whether you are using fixed cameras on smart motorways to enforce compliance with “red X” signals and issue FPNs to motorists? If you have cameras but are not enforcing “red X” contraventions for any reason(s) please confirm this.

3) How many FPNs have been issued over the last two years (2019 and 2020) for non-compliance with “Red X” signals, either using cameras or by police officers? Note: if figures are not available by calendar year, please provide it for the last two financial years (2019/20 and 2020/21 to date).

4) Please advise how many incidents your officers have been called to in 2019 and 2020 to protect vehicles that were stranded (ie. broken down or in accidents) in live vehicle lanes that are still open to traffic?

Response

1) We do not hold information as to the number of miles that smart motorways in our region cover, however by motorway and junction they are as follows: M42 Junctions 3A to 4, 4 to 5 in both directions, 6 to 7 in both directions and M6 Junctions 4 to 5 in both directions, 7 to 8 and M6/M54 slip road to Junction 10.

2) This information is exempt by virtue of Section 31(1)(a)(b) and Section 38(1)(b), see below for details*.

3) I can confirm that we have issued at least 5 fixed penalty notices for this offence over the last two years. However there are 9 officer issued motorway penalty notices that we have been unable to locate paper records for and therefore cannot confirm whether or not these related to non-compliance with a red x signal.

4) No information held – Highways England have the responsibility for attending incidents where vehicles have broken down or been involved in accidents. We would only attend when there are casualties.

*2) Whether you are using fixed cameras on smart motorways to enforce compliance with “red X” signals and issue FPNs to motorists? If you have cameras but are not enforcing “red X” contraventions for any reason(s) please confirm this.

West Midlands Police will neither confirm nor deny that we hold any of the requested information as the following exemptions apply:

S31(1)(a)(b) (Law enforcement)

S38(1)(b) (Health and safety)

These exemptions and explanatory notes are shown here:

https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-content/information-management/freedom-of-information/#freedom-of-information-exemptions

In line with the above, I am required to complete a Prejudice Test/Public Interest Test (PIT) on disclosure. Please find this PIT attached (100A_21_PIT.pdf).

No inference can be taken from this refusal that the information you have requested does or does not exist.

Attachments

100A_21_PIT