Northern Ireland news

600 police vehicles fined by mistake after entering bus lanes

Belfast's bus lane cameras have resulted in over 600 police vehicles being fined by mistake in four months. Picture by Hugh Russell
John Monaghan

MORE than 600 police vehicles received fines for driving in bus lanes in Belfast in four months, all of which were later cancelled.

A total of 624 penalty notices were issued to the PSNI in the four months up to October for use of the bus lanes since cameras were installed along the routes in June, according to a Freedom of Information request.

All of the fines - averaging more than 150 per month - issued have since been cancelled, as police vehicles are permitted to drive in bus lanes.

A spokeswoman for Transport NI said: "Under bus lane legislation all emergency service vehicles, including police vehicles, have an exception which permits their vehicles to enter, proceed or wait in a bus lane."

She added: "However, whilst liveried vehicles are easily identified, clearly non-liveried vehicles such as unmarked PSNI vehicles are less so and are inadvertently issued with penalty charge notices (PCNs). As soon as these situations are identified and corroborated any PCNs issued in these circumstances are cancelled."

Motorists entering bus lanes face a minimum £45 fine, rising to £90 if not paid within 14 days.

In July, the Department for Regional Development apologised after 700 penalty notices were cancelled due to a timer fault with cameras, just a month after their introduction.

The fixed cameras in the city centre are positioned at Great Victoria Street, College Square East, East Bridge Street, Castle Place and Belfast City Hall, where two cameras are in place.

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