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Gardaí aren't replacing their 'robot' speed vans - meaning fewer checks on Irish roads

It follows a recommendation from the Garda Inspectorate that the vehicles should not be replaced.

One of the GoSafe vans which are still in operation.
One of the GoSafe vans which are still in operation.
Image: Laura Hutton via Photocall Ireland

NEARLY HALF OF Garda ‘robot’ speed vans have been taken off the road and will not be replaced, TheJournal.ie has learned.

One of the reasons the vans are being taken off the roads because the IT system they use hasn’t been updated in a decade.

It follows a recommendation from the Garda Inspectorate that the vehicles should not be replaced after they come to the end of their operational life.

The marked garda vehicles contain speed cameras with reg plate recognition software.

Members of the Garda Traffic Corps can also carry out speed checks, and the privately-owned GoSafe vans, which operate on behalf of the gardaí, are still in operation across the country.

But the cut in the number of the dedicated Garda speed vans means that there has been an overall drop in the number of speed detection vehicles on routes around Ireland.

“So far, three robot vans have been decommissioned as part of implementing that Garda Inspectorate recommendation,” a Garda spokesperson said. Another five, which have been in operation for nearly a decade, will soon be taken out of commission and redeployed for normal policing duties.

The Garda Inspectorate is an independent body which oversees Garda resources and makes sure they are being used effectively.

Van problems  

There are a number of issues with the so-called garda ‘robot’ vans.

Firstly, they were never compatible with the systems used by the private GoSafe vans.

This meant that the detected road traffic offence data for both the safety cameras belonging to GoSafe and those on the Garda robot vans were being processed separately.

This resulted in twice the processing costs, additional staffing resources and more maintenance costs.

The only upgrades the Garda vans received, other than regular maintenance, was the update of the exterior markings on the side of the van, according to well-placed sources.

When contacted by TheJournal.ie, a Garda spokesman confirmed that there are fewer speed vans in operation nationwide and that management has applied for the shortcomings to be addressed.

He said:

“It was a recommendation of the Garda Inspectorate that An Garda Síochána should outsource all speed enforcement van activity. In line with that Garda Inspectorate recommendation, as Garda “Robot” vans reach their end of life they are not being replaced.

“So far, three robot vans have been decommissioned as part of implementing that Garda Inspectorate recommendation. As part of the new contract with GoSafe, there is an option for An Garda Síochána to purchase additional enforcement hours from GoSafe to further increase enforcement activity.

A business case has been developed to purchase those additional hours and funding for this has been applied for.

Read: There are now over 350 new speed enforcement zones on Irish roads nationwide… * >

Read: Minister: Speed vans aren’t about making money, honest >

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