Police have unveiled their new weapon – a speed camera that can film a car 1,000 metres away and is dubbed ‘The Long Ranger’.
Traffic cops in Gloucester are testing out the kit to tackle motoring offences, such as speeding and drivers using phones.
The new camera can produce clear video footage and still photographs of the drivers and other people inside a vehicle.
By the time a driver notices the camera, it will have already seen them behind the wheel, spot what they are doing and how fast they are travelling.
Martin Surl, Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, said he hoped that it would catch people using their mobile phones.
The project is being used on local roads such as well as the M4 and M5.
Officers said the main aim was to educate people about how to drive more safely, to prevent accidents that can kill or seriously injure people.
The operation was launched in a lay-by on the A417 known as Granny’s Pumps. It is between Cirencester and the outskirts of both Cheltenham and Gloucester.
If the pilot is successful, it could be rolled-out to any road in the county.
Mr Surl said: ‘This is one of the county’s busiest roads which also has one of the worst accident records due to the way it’s used.
‘Many people have come to me with their concerns about speeding and other safety issues along this road.
”We now have a chance to test a new model of collaborative road policing which, if it proves a success, can be put into practice elsewhere.
‘The aim is not just to penalise motorists but to uphold the law by creating a change in people’s behaviour. But the police will enforce the law when necessary.’
However, concerns have been raised by privacy groups.
‘Police shouldn’t be filming innocent people inside their cars, without their knowledge, unless they’re suspected of a crime or driving dangerously,’ a spokesperson told the Sun.