March 30, 2004 at 5:33 pm #8735XV16Participant
A SCATHING report today revealed some of Norfolk’s speed cameras could have been wrongly sited.
The investigation, carried out by Norfolk police, found that in some cases the data used to justify the siting of cameras was questionable, while on other occasions it was simply unavailable — because it had been shredded.
The findings, to be presented to members of the county’s police authority, are a major blow to the Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership, which must prove a need for cameras at a particular site.
Currently the partnership, a coalition set up in 2001 including the police, the county council planning and transportation department, health bosses and magistrates, has 18 fixed sites in the county, including nine “legacy” sites from the mid 1990s, and 72 stretches of road covered by mobile cameras.
The Department for Transport has issued strict guidelines, which must be followed before fixed cameras are installed.
That there must have been four fatal or serious injury collisions there in the last three years.
That speed was a factor in some or all of these.
At least 20 per cent of drivers are exceeding the speed limit.
The new audit has so far looked at six fixed sites, three proposed fixed sites and 20 mobile ones.
But it found that much of the data about accidents that has been used to justify sites has been destroyed.
This is in line with police policy, but the report stated: “There is a reasonable expectation that the partnership team should have acquired and retained records relating to collisions which they used to justify the siting of safety cameras. This has not been the case and as a consequence, it has not been possible in many instances to make conclusive comments.”
Of the first nine fixed sites, there was not enough data to comment on their siting and no evidence was found of an ongoing review.
Of the nine later sites, six of which were reviewed, the report criticised the interpretation of the data that had led to them being installed.
In a damning indictment of the team that runs the partnership, the report also found: “There is a lack of documentary accountability for the reasoning and justification underpinning the decision making for camera siting. This reflects some lack of managerial robustness in the operation of the scheme.”
NCRP manager Barry Parnell said: “We can’t really comment on the report at this time without seeing exactly what sites they are talking about.
“All the sites have been submitted to and approved by the Department for Transport.”
He would not comment on whether any cameras would be moved or whether changes would have to be made to the partnership’s management.
“This report will be discussed at length by the partnership,” he added.
The report is due to be considered by members of Norfolk’s Police Authority next Tuesday and could prompt major changes in the way speed cameras are run.
The report recommends that authority members reconsider their position in the partnership.
Authority chairman Jim Wilson said the partnership needed to be made more accountable.
“We as an authority are concerned that confidence in the police is being eroded over something which neither the authority nor the Chief Constable has any direct control.
“What needs to change is that, in the way the police are accountable to their police authority and the county council departments to the county council itself, there needs to be an accountable body interposed between the partnership and the public.”
Cameras have long been accused of not being accountable and, by extension, of being more to do with raising revenue than reducing accidents.
Funds raised from fines on speeding motorists are used to pay for the NCRP with any surplus going to the Treasury’s coffers in Whitehall.
The new report will further undermine the public’s faith in them.
Earlier this month, Norfolk County Council’s scrutiny committee expressed concern about the “secret and unaccountable nature” of the partnership.
In January, the Evening News revealed some of the county’s worst accident blackspots were not monitored by cameras while other locations with a less severe accident record, such as Grapes Hill, were snaring dozens of motorists every day.
Nearly 40,000 motorists were caught on speed cameras in Norfolk in 2003, a rate of 760 a week.
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HELP KEEP THIS FORUM ALIVE! PLEASE DONATE.August 30, 2004 at 1:18 pm #18309GixParticipant
The article above states that Department for Transport guidelines for installing fixed speed cameras are there musst have been at least four fatal or serious accidents in the three years prior to the cameras being installed. In my post about the camera on the A5 Hints road being vandalised, the article I had my information from says that in the three years prior to the cameras being installed, there was just one fatality, one serious and a handful of minor accidents on this stretch of road. Are the guidelines the same in all areas? If so, how the hell are they allowed to get away with it? There are more dangerous roads round my area where more fatalities have occurred yet it seems that they have picked a sight for their cameras where they are more likely to bring in plenty of revenue! Robbing b*****ds!
Rebel with a cause!
The roads are my race track!!
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