THE number of mobile speed cameras in North Yorkshire is set to double.

The Executive Board of North Yorkshire Police yesterday gave the green light to a number of proposals to improve road safety across the region, which also included the development of a community speed watch scheme, enhanced training and education for road users, and the purchase of three new mobile safety camera vans, in addition to the three that are already in operation.

Research showed that police in North Yorkshire were covering about 9,000km of roads with fewer resources than other forces of a similar size. the new vans will be in use from next spring, and will be used at locations around the region with frequent reports of accidents or speeding.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: "More enforcement is an effective approach, so it is great news that North Yorkshire Police will soon have more mobile safety camera vans to deploy in safety hot-spots, but this alone won't solve the problem.

"Many road-users don't think of themselves as 'anti-social', so they continue to take risks until they are involved in a collision, and tragically we have seen a number of serious incidents recently where people have lost their lives. We will also be doing more training and education, to help all road-users to realise that unless we all share the responsibility for keeping roads safe, we will all continue to share in the risks. Our aim is safer roads for everyone."

More than 8,000 people were killed or seriously injured on the region's roads between 2010 and 2012, and police currently have three mobile speed cameras to try and tackle the problem - but recent research showed 80 per cent of the public believed road safety was a concern for residents.

Julia Mulligan, the Police and Crime Commissioner said: "I am absolutely committed to improving road safety in our region, and I hope that the activities we have announced today will make a significant contribution to reducing fatalities, injuries and anti-social behaviour on our roads.

"The recent survey I undertook showed without question the vast majority of the public are concerned about road safety, and this shows we are taking those concerns seriously. By approving the proposals we have increased North Yorkshire Police's capacity for enforcement to bring it into line with that of other comparable Forces, but I would also like to call upon the region's drivers, bikers and cyclists to play their part, and help us to keep the roads safe for everyone."

The Speedwatch initiative, which is already under way in 20mph, 30mph and some 40mph areas in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight. It is managed by local Safer Neighbourhood Teams and run by volunteers who use equipment that can monitor the speed of passing traffic and record the details, later adding them to a database.

Figures released by North Yorkshire Police showed 51 people died on the roads of York and North Yorkshire last year, up from 35 the previous year - the highest number since 2008.

The figures also showed 442 people were seriously injured on the roads last year, compared with 489 the previous year – the lowest in 20 years.

A police spokeswoman said that figures had fallen since 1994, when 84 people were killed on the roads, with 1,176 people seriously injured, and almost 3,500 people injured, and other changes to be made by police would include the formation of a new unit to bring together all road policing and fining teams.