A police watchdog has revealed that speed cameras in the UK are being positioned to rake in fines from drivers, rather than to prevent accidents.
The news was announced in a recent report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services which called for greater transparency over speed cameras and the revenues they generate.
The report 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.”
Top UK speed cameras and their revenues:
- North Road, Cardiff: £2.2million in fines and 22,276 tickets
- A3 Esher bypass in Surrey: £1.27m in fines and 12,726 tickets
- A1067 in Taverham near Norwich: £1.9m in fines and 19,398 tickets
The overall number of tickets issued for speeding violations has rocketed from 1.6 million in 2011 to 2.3 million in 2018. There are no centrally-held records to show the annual amount raised by speed cameras, but with a minimum fine of £100, it could be that £230 million was generated in revenue during 2018.
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.
The RAC‘s head of policy Nicholas Lyes commented: “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.”