March 2, 2006 at 3:12 pm #11578GixParticipant
Go slow: police win the right to camouflage speed cameras
The prominent yellow boxes may be harder to identify from next year
MOTORISTS face the return of hidden speed cameras after rules governing their siting and visibility cease to be enforced from April 2007.
Camera partnerships, which include police and local authorities, will be able to repaint yellow cameras to make them blend into the background.
They will also be able to install cameras where there is a speeding problem but little history of crashes.
At present the partnerships are bound by strict rules issued by the Department for Transport. The cameras must be painted bright yellow and be visible from at least 60m (200ft) away. They can be installed only at sites where there have been at least three collisions causing death or serious injury and three causing slight injury within a kilometre in the previous three years.
Many partnerships believe that the rules are too restrictive. Last autumn, Richard Brunstrom, the Chief Constable of North Wales Police, said that many more lives would be saved if there were more flexibility in camera location.
He said: “Parents often write to us and ask us to put a camera outside a school because the traffic is so dangerous. It’s very difficult to write back and say, ‘Please let us know when your son is killed and then we can consider putting a camera there.’ ”
Alistair Darling, the Transport Secretary, said in December that partnerships would no longer be able to keep the cash from camera fines to pay for more cameras. They will get grants from a central road safety fund to pay for cameras or alternative measures such as new markings or humps.
Ian Bell, the camera liaison officer for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said that regional differences were likely. “If a highway authority wants to install more cameras and they have the money there will be nothing to stop them. They may decide to put cameras in places the criteria do not currently allow, such as in villages and around schools.”
Lee Murphy, speed camera manager for Cheshire, said: “If the rules weren’t compulsory we could use cameras to tackle emerging trends rather than waiting for the minimum number of collisions.”
A Department of Transport spokesman said: “Local authorities will have freedom to use cameras where appropriate and where they see fit. But we do not want to see a return to the bad old days of cameras being hidden behind trees. We are minded to use guidance to achieve this, but if authorities flout it we will consider regulation. If they want to paint cameras grey we will want to know why.”
Kevin Delaney, the head of road safety at the RAC Foundation, said: “We are concerned that some partnerships will conceal cameras and risk losing the trust of motorists. It makes sense for cameras to be yellow because it slows people down at accident blackspots.”
Brake, a road safety charity, welcomed the new flexibility for partnerships. Mary Williams, its chief executive, said: “Requiring casualties before action is abhorrent and results in needless deaths. We welcome the opportunity for covert enforcement because too many motorists simply slow down briefly for a yellow camera.”March 5, 2006 at 12:52 am #45749HippoDronesParticipant
I think slowing down for schools is obvious, they should be allowed to place cameras at these hotspots but if they start hiding cameras they are showing themselves as money grabbing and less concerned with the situation and more the crime figures. The report as posted seems ok but does leave a lot in the hands of local authorities that could be abused
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