16 Jul 2020

In a report by the Inspectorate of Police and Fire Services they accuse Safety Camera Partnerships (dominated by local authorities) of being cynical and putting cameras to generate revenue and not to save lives.

What landlords need to know is that this is exactly what Local Authorities are doing in the housing sector with Licensing and Fining Landlords. Completely cynical, these unaccountable local government officials have recruited armies of licence processors and Enforcement Officers who, due to the total lack of any evidence of housing improvements, we are forced to conclude are only in it for revenue generation to prop up their falling income from other areas.

Landlords are now the Local Authority cash cow alongside Parking Tickets and Speeding Camera fines (Local Authorities will tell you the speeding fines goes to government, but it comes straight back to them in a grants which they wouldn’t get if the camera revenue fell!) 

Anyway, back to speed camera revelations and accusations made by the Inspectorate of Police and Fire Services and reported in the papers this morning:

Speed camera sites are being used to make money rather than prevent accidents, an official report revealed last night.

The police watchdog says some locations are chosen because they are ‘good hunting grounds’ for fines.

Safety camera partnerships – local bodies which operate speed traps – have even protected their revenues by stopping police officers using driver education as an alternative strategy.

Motorists have long suspected they are cash cows – 2.3million speeding fines were handed out in 2018, potentially raking in around £230million.

Campaigners said the findings were unacceptable because cameras should be about ‘saving lives and nothing more’. The report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services called for greater transparency over the use of cameras and their revenues.

It said: ‘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.

‘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.’

The report said some forces had set up community speedwatch schemes to change driver behaviour without prosecution.

These can involve volunteers being issued with radar guns and the details they gather can lead to a warning letter to the motorist or even a fine. Such initiatives have been blocked by safety camera partnerships, so they could carry on sending out speeding tickets, the report said.

‘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.’

The number of speeding tickets issued in England and Wales has soared from 1.6million in 2011 to 2.3million in 2018.

There are no centrally-held figures on the amount raised nationally by speed cameras but the punishment is a minimum £100 fine and three points on a licence.

Drivers however may be able to avoid the penalty and points by attending a speed awareness course, at a cost of between £80 and £100. These fees are intended to cover the cost of providing the course.

But the HMICFRS report said the rules were open to ‘misinterpretation’ and ‘there is the potential in some cases for revenue to be generated’. 

The RAC’s head of policy, Nicholas Lyes, said: “Decisions on where to deploy speed cameras must always be led by a genuine desire to improve road safety. So any suggestion that a decision to locate cameras in certain places is driven by raising revenue, rather than improving road safety, is unacceptable. Cameras have played a vital role in keeping our roads safe over the years, but the police must be able to show their deployment is about saving lives and nothing more.”

You can read the full article in The Mail here 

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