Your chances of seeing a speed camera van on the road are up to 60 per cent less than last year, MCN can reveal.
Funding changes brought in by Government have plunged speed camera authorities into chaos and led to drastic cuts in the number of hours spent enforcing the limits, an MCN investigation has found.
Under the Government’s National Safety Camera Programme, partnerships between police forces and local councils were set up to run cameras using fine money. That scheme was scrapped in April, leaving local councils to pay for cameras out of a general road safety grant. Now the partnerships have been forced to shut down websites and are struggling to find the staff to man mobile speed cameras. In some cases confusion reigns over whether the ‘safety camera partnerships’ still exist.
In Gloucestershire mobile speed cameras spent a total of 164 hours catching speeders in June 2006 but only 69 hours doing so this June. It means enforcement levels last month were only 42% of their level last year. The actual number of mobile cameras also fell, from three in June 2006 to two last month. Gloucestershire Safety Camera Partnership blamed the fall on staff shortages, saying vacancies were currently being filled.
MCN asked camera partnerships across the UK for the same information under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. In nine counties to so far respond, mobile speed cameras were deployed for 19% fewer hours in June 2007 than June 2006. The rest have until the end of the month to respond under the FOI Act.
In the meantime, MCN decided to find out whether speed camera staff think enforcement levels are down by approaching one at the roadside. We asked Northamptonshire’s Brian Henderson whether speed camera vans are active less since the funding changes. He said they “could be” - then seemed to backtrack.
Shortly after we approached Henderson, the Northamptonshire partnership’s official response arrive, reporting a fall of 17% in the time speed cameras vans were active in June 2007 compared to June 2006.
Watch what happened when we approached Henderson. Get this week’s MCN, out July 17, to see what’s happened to speed camera enforcement in seven other counties and for more on the state of camera partnerships across the UK.