SCOTLAND’S new police force has launched an unprecedented crackdown on bad drivers in the capital – resulting in a fourfold increase in speeding fines.
In four months since Police Scotland was created a total of 1200 Edinburgh drivers have been caught speeding.
Over the same period the previous year the number was just 350.
And the number of Edinburgh drivers caught by police for not using a seatbelt, driving without a licence and driving while using a mobile has also increased.
A total of 869 drivers were caught not wearing a seatbelt between April and July this year compared with 347 for the same period in 2012.
Mobile phone offences rose from 421 to 967 and those caught driving without a license rose from 165 to 302.
Since the creation of Police Scotland on April 1, Chief Constable Sir Stephen House has made it clear that tackling road traffic offences is a priority.
Police say the get-tough policy has already worked with the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads over the period down from 42 to 26.
Chief Superintendent Mark Williams, police commander of the Edinburgh Division, said: “The chief is very clear and focused about the priorities.
“It is about keeping people safe. For us in the east and north there has been quite a change in approach and focus. Road safety is a very high priority.
“We have been asked to make a real shift in focus around road policing. The numbers killed or seriously injured has reduced.
“This is not about the persecution of drivers. It is about keeping people safe on the road. The number killed or seriously injured on Scotland’s roads is far too high.
“We know that targeting dangerous and criminal drivers is effective at improving road safety and reduction criminal activity.
“We spent a lot of time asking the people of Edinburgh what they wanted from policing and a consistent theme was that of road safety.”
Earlier this year, Sir Stephen said police would adopt a zero tolerance approach to dangerous drivers and criminals who used roads to courier everything from drugs to dirty money.
Under section 165 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act police can stop a vehicle for any reason.
They can also ask drivers to pull over if they have reason to pull over if they have reason to suspect specific criminality or that vehicle has been involved in an accident.
The number of people killed on roads across Scotland has decreased 42%, from an average of about 290 in 2004 and to 170 in 2012.
However, senior police officers say that this is still almost double the number of people murdered in 2012.
A spokesman for the AA said: “Drivers have for years thought they could get away with bad habits, particularly in relation to mobile phones.
“They should bear in mind that being penalised for driving while on a mobile phone is infinitely better than going to jail for having killed a child.
“I would perhaps query whether the reduction in the number of road deaths is all down to the police.
“High petrol prices has plunged petrol consumption down to record lows.
“When it comes down to newer road traffic offense, if drivers feel they are being picked on they need to bear in mind that if this action helps stop one nitwit causing an accident…then they ought to be grateful.”
The crackdown on drivers follows police raids in the summer on the city’s sex saunas, which had historically been allowed to operate freely by the licensing authorities.