Police chief wants hidden cameras

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The head of ACPO road policing has admitted in an interview that he wants hidden speed cameras on our roads.

Meredydd Hughes is the controversial Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police and senior figure in the influential Police body, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) who told MCN: “I was a speeding addict”.

In an interview with the Times newspaper Hughes said: “I have always thought it strange that speed cameras were so easily identified. We need to think about whether greater compliance will be delivered by using technology in a less conspicuous way. I might put up Neighbourhood Watch signs but I don’t tell burglars when I am specifically running an anticrime operation.”

His comments came as Hughes faces increasing pressure to reduce the number of deaths on our roads. Although the figure is gradually falling, it is not falling quickly enough for the Government’s liking.

Previously cameras were required to be painted fluorescent yellow and to be clearly visible from at least 60 metres. However, a shake up three months ago to the way speed cameras generate revenue means this is no longer a legal requirement.

The change came about after motorists complained that Police had a financial incentive to catch speeders, now camera partnerships receive a fixed grant. In response Hughes said: “The money is no longer linked to the rules and, therefore, we no longer have to abide by those rules. When you get hit by hidden cameras you can blame those people who said cameras were cash generators.”

His comments have infuriated speed camera campaigner Paul Smith from Safe Speed said: “"Speed cameras make no sense. They cannot distinguish between safe and dangerous behaviours. You can't measure safe driving in miles per hour.

Meredydd Hughes should know far better than this. Rather than hide speed cameras, he should be calling for them to be scrapped. It's a case of 'the cure is worse than the disease'.

Scrapping speed cameras is now absolutely inevitable. It's only a question of time. The sooner we scrap them the better. People are dying of bad policy.

There's one certain consequence of hiding speed cameras, Mr Hughes, and that's more dead people. Don't do it."

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Tom Rayner

By Tom Rayner