Extra Road Cameras Installed in EU Due to Brexit
8 FEB - Extra surveillance cameras are being installed on the continent due to Brexit, ROADPOL media found out.
The fact is one of many concerning road safety and road transport in the European Union after the Brexit deal signing at end of 2020. Its provisional entry into force has already brought its first effects on the work of Road Police forces especially in border countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium.
“The effects of Brexit on Road Transport and Road Safety in the Netherlands are barely visible on the roads as of now”, says Paul Broer, national project leader on road and traffic policing with the Netherlands Police and his country's representative at ROADPOL Council. Still a number of precautionary measures has been taken.
One of them includes the ANPR system of the Netherlands – the network of cameras and devices which automatically detects and identifies vehicles of interest for the police. “Due to Brexit we had to fix extra ANPR portals on strategic roads within the country as well as to and from the harbours with ferries to the United Kingdom”, John Gelderblom from the National ANPR Coordination Team at Central Division of the National Police of the Netherlands and ROADPOL Technology Working Group Secretary, informs. ANPR network is critical regarding vehicles on police wanted lists for enforcement and criminal investigation purposes. Other purposes of the system include tackling driving without licence/insurence and driving while under suspension because of earlier drugs/alcohol violations. ANPR is also used for other road policing purposes such as driver wanted for arrest or known mobile bandit, vehicle stolen or involved in serious crime, human trafficking, false number plates and any issues related to the SIS (Schengen Information System)-lists. “Because of Brexit it was necessary to have the means to monitor, detect and check all traffic coming in and going out to the ferries enhanced”, explained Gelderblom, noting that previous to UK's exit of the EU, there were no ANPR cameras on these specific locations.
Belgian authorities and police forces expected a large number of problems due to the Brexit deal with the UK. Most of them were related do road safety and mobility due to the reinstauration of customs controls at the port of Zeebruges and the French ports Dunkirk and Calais. „With a daily flow of 5000 trucks to the port of Zeebruges and an estimated error rate of 10 to 15%, we had to be prepared for the worst. In the months preceding the first of January 21, we worked out several scenarios at regional and national level to face the possible immobilization of hundreds of trucks on main roads and highways due to breaches of regulation”, Christophe Decramer of Belgium's Federal Road Police admits. In the end problems turned out to be minimal. According to the expert this is largely due to the increase in traffic mid-December in order to fill the stocks in the UK for the holidays, the closure of the border between UK and France because of the pandemic and the active communication on various levels to transport companies, foreign authorities and customs services.
Still Decramer points out uncertainties springing out of issues between EU and UK left for further negotiation. “Now that UK is to be considered a “third country”, this has effect on the application of several EU-regulations on road safety such as driving time and rest periods, transport licences for the transport of goods and persons, transport of animals. For us as enforcement agency, at this moment it’s not always clear if a certain EU-regulation is applicable or not to UK road users and vehicles”, Decramer explains. According to him it is still not clear how long UK's drivers licences will be accepted as EU's with no additional control emerging as of now. Further negotiations between the UK and the EU may also change the mandatory vehicle papers such as insurance documents and registration certificate. Hence the expectations for increase in traffic violations. “This depends on the recognition or the eventual non-recognition of British documents on EU-territory which will be negotiated during the coming months/years. If regulations change, it’s logical that offences will be committed more often in the transition period“, concludes Decramer.