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Enforcement of 20mph speed limit impossible, say police

PUBLISHED: 12:50 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:32 07 September 2010

POLICE have disappointed residents hoping to introduce a 20mph speed limit across Haringey, by arguing that they would not have the resources to enforce it. Paul Copping, a police officer in the traffic management unit for Haringey, Enfield and Hackney, w

POLICE have disappointed residents hoping to introduce a 20mph speed limit across Haringey, by arguing that they would not have the resources to enforce it.

Paul Copping, a police officer in the traffic management unit for Haringey, Enfield and Hackney, was answering questions from residents at a meeting on Tuesday night. They wanted to know why the police were not more dedicated to introducing a 20mph limit in residential streets.

PC Copping said: "It would be physically possible for us to enforce a 20mph speed limit. we don't have the manpower and we have other priorities. We can't be everywhere at once. If there's a burglary or robbery we have to respond to that.

"It would be a bad idea to put in legislation that we didn't comply with. The only way we could slow drivers down would be if the council put physical obstructions in the road, but this can create problems for the emergency services."

Adam Coffman, 38, a member of the Haringey Cycling Campaign of Fairfax Road, said he was disappointed. "The sticking point appears to be the police," he said.

"A 20mph speed limit would be beneficial for all road users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists. The experience from other cities in the UK and Europe is that lower speed limits lead to much higher levels of walking and cycling."

Crouch End Liberal Democrat councillor Lyn Weber said the idea for the limit should not be so easily dismissed.

She said: "The council and police seem to be passing the buck between each other, rather than trying to resolve it. Residents are suggesting that a 20mph speed limit could reduce the number of accidents and save pedestrians and cyclists' lives.

"I hope the police officers who were at the meeting will now go back and find out whether this can happen."

But Highgate resident Ralph Crisp said the police's warning should be heeded. "A 20mph limit would be good in residential streets but it's often the case that a vociferous minority push something that is not practical," he said.

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