THOUSANDS of speeding motorists have avoided being caught on the main road in and out of Bournemouth due to cameras being switched off for almost a whole year.

The average speed cameras on the A338 Spur Road between Blackwater junction and Cooper Dean were not operational for 49 weeks.

Prior to the non-operational period beginning on December 7, 2020, 5,513 speeding offences were processed from the average speed cameras in 2020.

This was up slightly from 2019, with 5,391 prosecution notices dished out.

With the enforcement cameras out of action from December 2020 until November 16, 2021, just 844 speeders were caught last year – all in the final seven weeks of the year.

The situation has only now come to light following a Daily Echo Freedom of Information request relating to the number of offences recorded since the average speed cameras were installed on the A338 Spur Road in early 2019.

Bournemouth Echo: The cameras have been in place on the A338 Spur Road for three yearsThe cameras have been in place on the A338 Spur Road for three years

A spokesperson for the Dorset Police road safety team said: “The cameras on the A338 were the subject of technical upgrades and as part of this there was a requirement to carry out a process of testing and re-validating the upgraded cameras.

"This process was unfortunately delayed due to staff availability and then also ran into the local authority’s embargo on the summer roadworks, which resulted in further delays.

“Dorset Police needs to ensure all our safety cameras that are used for enforcement are fully tested to ensure prosecution evidence is as robust as possible."

The spokesperson added: “We do not inform the public which of our cameras that we operate as part of our network are live at any given time, as this ensures that they act as a deterrent even when they are not operational and therefore we can maximise their road safety benefit.”

The FOI also revealed that the top average speed recorded by the A338 Spur Road cameras was 99mph, which was clocked in both 2019 and 2020 by drivers of a Jaguar X-type and a Volkswagen Polo.

A BCP Council spokesperson said: "We work closely with Dorset Police and other authorities through the Dorset Road Safe Partnership in order to reduce casualties on our road network.

"Speeding is a major factor in the number and severity of road collisions and casualties and speed cameras can help reduce traffic speed.

"In regards to the mentioned ‘summer embargo of roadworks’ – during the busy summer period, we try to limit the number of roadworks to help reduce congestion."