"It is very important that the law should not be broken and that speed limits should be respected," said Charles Clarke.
"The best way of ensuring they are respected is to say they are going to be enforced. `Thirty means 30'," he told Radio 4's Today programme.
Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, is likely to be told by the Superintendents' annual conference this week that even those drivers who exceed the 30mph limit by one or two mph should face prosecution.
The rallying call is to be made by Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Paul Manning, who argues that more than half the children hit by cars travelling at 30mph will survive.
"I want all those drivers to comply with the speed limit," said Mr Manning.
"But if they disregard the facts, then I believe the court should remind them, in a most effective and hard-hitting way - for example, by having penalty points on your licence - that that is unacceptable behaviour and you have put your life and other people's lives at risk," he told Today.Reuse content