EXTRA mobile speed cameras will take to the roads of North Yorkshire as the county’s first police and crime commissioner backs a bid to expand the pilot operation.

Julia Mulligan has this week supported proposals to increase the number of vans patroling the region’s roads from one to three.

The pilot scheme was launched on July 1 last year, and is now due to become a fully commissioned, permanent fixture in the hope of improving road safety and reducing the number of road casualties further.

The expanded operation – which will be self-funding with the running costs paid for through levies generated by speed awareness course fees – is expected to be in place by Easter next year.

The fate of the force’s mobile safety camera van – which has seen more than 16,000 speeding motorists caught since its introduction – was the first decision Mrs Mulligan has made since being elected.

She also ordered an evaluation to be carried out to determine which elements of the speed awareness courses produce the most benefit, and that “further thought be given to the way in which North Yorkshire Police’s speed management protocol is communicated within the policing area”.

A report to the commissioner said: “The early success of the pilot safety camera van operation in relation to casualty reduction figures, and the improved quality of life in local communities, support the continued use of mobile enforcement technology.

“The effectiveness of speed cameras has been well documented and those effects have been evident across the force area for the last 12 months.

“There has been a distinct and measurable impact on vehicle speeds which can be attributed to a shift change in driver behaviour.”

The report said 36 people had died on the 6,000-mile road network in York and North Yorkshire over the last three years as a result of speeding – equating to a quarter of all road deaths.

Motorcyclist deaths were also a huge factor in the launch of a speed camera van. In 2010, 20 bikers, including two pillion passengers, died in North Yorkshire.

The number of motorcyclists who have lost their lives on the county’s roads has fallen since the introduction of a mobile speed camera last summer and with extra speed camera vans set for the region’s roads – police are hoping to drive down that figure further.

• POLICE in East Yorkshire say their priority this month will be cracking down on drink-drivers who risk the lives of others.

Sgt Pete Rogers, of the Pocklington and Wolds Weighton Neighbourhood Policing Team, said that while the message had got through to most drivers, there remained a minority who were either prepared to “risk it” or who completely ignored the law and drove under the influence of alcohol.

“As police officers, my colleagues and I have all come across these people at various times,” he said.