‘We thought you’d be busy with COVID’: Police catch thousands speeding during lockdown

The number of motorists caught speeding in London went up by 71% when the coronavirus lockdown started, new figures show, with one driver clocking up to 163mph on a 70mph road.

Metropolitan Police officers issued 3,282 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) to drivers suspected of exceeding the limit during April, compared with 1,922 during the same month last year.

A further 14,736 motorists were caught by roadside cameras in the capital during the first full month of lockdown, according to the data obtained by the PA news agency.

Image: One driver was caught clocking up to 163mph on a 70mph road

Among the other highest speeds recorded in particular zones was 134mph on a 40mph road, 110mph on a 30mph road and 73mph on a 20mph road.

Kent and Derbyshire police forces also recorded year-on-year increases in speeding incidents, up by 53% and 41% respectively.


The majority of forces recorded an overall decrease, amid a significant fall in traffic on the roads of around two-thirds as people were urged to stay at home to limit the spread of COVID-19.

However, 13 police forces saw an increase in the speed of the fastest driver caught, including Dyfed-Powys, North Yorkshire, Police Scotland and West Mercia.

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Detective Superintendent Andy Cox, of the Met Police, said many of those who were caught breaking speed limits in London did not expect officers to be patrolling the roads for speeding motorists.

"They would actually come out and say 'we thought you'd be busy dealing with COVID'," he said.

"Maybe some people (tried to take) advantage because congestion was less and thought they'd get away with it."

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