NEARLY 2,000 motorists had their speeding fines cancelled in Dorset last year, new figures show.

The Police Powers and Procedures data produced for the Home Office showed that there were 330 incomplete and 1,969 cancelled fines in the county last year.

This may be an underlying reason for the drop in the number of motorists paying fines in Dorset as fewer than 15,000 were caught last year.

Dorset Police logged 18,138 speeding tickets paid by drivers snapped on camera in 2018, three per cent fewer than in 2017.

This was fewer than the 19,960 paid when comparable records began in 2011.

Camera-detected speed violations led to 889 court actions but not every snap resulted in a fine – overall, cameras flashed for 21,326 speed violations in Dorset last year.

Drivers found to have broken the speed limit face possible punishments ranging from a fine to attending a speed awareness course, or even court action.

Police forces can send someone on a driver retraining course, which includes those on speed awareness, at their own discretion – meaning figures for fines may differ widely across the country.

However, those having to retrain can only attend a course once in a three-year period, even if they commit the same offence again.

With speeding offences at record levels across England and Wales, road safety charity Brake has warned that breaking the speed limit can have “devastating consequences”.

Samuel Nahk, senior public affairs officer at Brake, said: “Breaking the speed limit by any amount can have devastating consequences, and drivers who selfishly ignore speed limits put not only themselves, but other road users, at serious risk.

“Speed cameras play a crucial role in enforcing our traffic laws, and are a proven, cost-effective way of reducing speed and preventing deaths and serious injuries.

“However, road safety isn’t just about enforcement, we need safer speed limits, safer vehicles and safer road infrastructure to make sure that no journey ends in tragedy and we all manage to get home to our loved ones safely.”

Cameras detected 97 per cent of the 2.1 million offences recorded across England and Wales by police last year, according to the figures, as well as 74 per cent of cases where drivers neglected traffic directions.