Speed camera shock

SAFETY camera bosses in Suffolk have budgeted to catch a speeding motorist every 13 minutes, the EADT can reveal.This year about 40,000 people are expected to be caught by mobile and fixed cameras on the county's roads, generating around £2million to help fund the network.

SAFETY camera bosses in Suffolk have budgeted to catch a speeding motorist every 13 minutes, the EADT can reveal.

This year about 40,000 people are expected to be caught by mobile and fixed cameras on the county's roads, generating around £2million to help fund the network.

Campaigners last night claimed the setting of such targets suggests a “money motivation” in the detection of drivers.

But, after releasing the figures for the first time yesterday, Suffolk Safety Camera Partnership (SafeCam) said it only concentrates on sites where there is a poor accident record.


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In 2005/06, Suffolk SafeCam expected to prosecute 46,800 motorists but issued penalties to just over 42,000. This generated a profit of about £130,000 to be passed to the Government.

Michelle Finnerty, spokeswoman for SafeCam, said: “We need to meet our costs but it's not about the money - it's about casualty reductions.

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“The Department for Transport estimates every injury collision costs about £150,000 in terms of things like healthcare, lost income and social benefits.

“If we can prevent just one collision, we can help to save the misery and grief suffered by victims and their friends and family.

“Every driver can make a difference to the safety and well-being of our local community by observing speed limits.”

Although admitting costs associated with the partnership need to be met, including administration and camera maintenance bills, Ms Finnerty said budgets can be reassessed if fewer than expected motorists are prosecuted.

“The predictions for the number of speeders expected to be caught are based on previous years' activities,” she said.

“If fewer offences were prosecuted than expected, budgets can be reviewed. It's only the speeders who pay for the system.”

But campaign group Safe Speed, which argues against the use of speed cameras, claimed the target-setting suggests the partnership's focus is not purely on road safety.

Spokesman Paul Smith said: “It seems it is looking to pay its bills by catching a sufficient number of motorists.

“That's not good because it means the partnership is motivated by balancing rather than making the roads safer.

“I think it's wrong that it receives cash from speeding fines. It puts the motivation on making money rather than road safety.”

From next April, all cash generated by speeding fines will go straight to the Government, with the partnerships funded through transport grants from individual councils.

Nationwide, a network of organisations have been established over the past three years, with £95m spent on a network of 4,650 cameras.

Although some have opposed the use of speed cameras, more could be established if recommendations made in a report from MPs yesterday are accepted.

It said it was a “disgrace” that current Department of Transport guidelines required preventable deaths to have taken place before a speed camera was considered in a specific location.

The committee said there should be speed cameras at some sites whether that site had a history of accidents or not.

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