Cash Or Safety - What’s The Point Of Speed Cameras?

Thu 16th Jul 2020

New research published by a police watchdog has discovered that some speed cameras are being positioned to rake in cash rather than to make roads safer.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services has found that some locations for speed cameras are placed because they are ‘good hunting grounds’ for fines, rather than to slow down traffic.

Councils and police forces are under scrutiny in the research, which calls for more transparency on the reasoning of speed cameras after £230 million was raised in fines in 2018.
“Apparent unwillingness to support education over enforcement had led to suspicion among officers, including some at chief officer level, that the focus of activity was intended to increase revenue for the safety partnership” says the report.

“They gave examples of some camera sites that they believed didn’t have a history of collisions or other identified vulnerabilities.

“Elsewhere, we were told that the reason enforcement took place at certain locations was that they were ‘good hunting grounds’, rather than because they had a history of collisions.”

In the seven years from 2011 to 2018 the number of speeding tickets went up by 700,000 per year, suggesting that cameras are working harder than ever to trap speeders.

The report suggests that education over financial enforcement, such as speedwatch schemes could be a better use of the speed camera technology, but also called on the government to enforce their own guidelines on the issues.

The HMICFRS report continued: “We found examples where the use of partnership enforcement activity appeared to be in direct conflict with the development of a speedwatch scheme,’ it added.

“In one force area, a safety partnership agreement prevented local speedwatch schemes from operating on roads where the safety partnership deployed mobile speed enforcement cameras.

“Forces and their partners need to make sure that there is transparency over how and where cameras are located.

“There are already government guidelines on this issue, but we believe that these should be refreshed to include a requirement for publication of what revenue is raised and how it is spent.”