Up until January 1998, the use of speed trap detectors, specifically radar/laser speed trap detectors, was considered to be something of a grey area. You would often hear that detectors were ‘legal to own, but not to use’. However, officially until 1998, the use of devices to detect police speed enforcement equipment was considered by the authorities, to be illegal in England, Scotland and Wales under Section 5(b)(i) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949, although users seldom seemed to be prosecuted. Then in January 1998, a judgment by the Queen’s Bench Divisional Court found that the Act did not specifically preclude the use of speed trap detection and ever since then the use of all types of speed trap detectors including GPS and radar/laser detectors had been considered completely legal in the UK.
A final note of caution however, whilst speed trap detectors are perfectly legal to own and use in the UK, that’s not always the case when travelling abroad. GPS and radar/laser speed trap detectors are illegal to own and use in France and radar/laser detectors, specifically, are illegal to use in Spain. We always recommend that you check local laws before using a speed trap detector outside of the UK.