Speed cameras could be saved

SPEED cameras in Suffolk could be saved under a pilot scheme by the county’s police.

Suffolk County Council announced last week that it was pulling out of the Suffolk Safety Camera Partnership from April to save £1.2 million, leaving the cameras in jeopardy.

Now police have revealed plans that could see speeding drivers avoid penalty points by paying towards the cameras.

Chief Constable of Suffolk Simon Ash said that previously, drivers caught going slightly over the speed limit had been offered the chance to pay for a speed awareness course instead of a fine and penalty points.

The pilot scheme will extend the amount drivers can be caught driving above the speed limit and will split the money the driver then pays between the course provider and the safety camera partnership.

“People would rather be re-educated as an alternative to a fine and that seems to me to be quite an effective outcome. Education is more likely to get a change in attitude than just pure enforcement,” said Mr Ash.

He said he needed to collect three months worth of data to assess whether police could take over the camera scheme on a permanent basis. The trial started in December but will finish at the end of June to allow for time it takes to issue speeding notices and receive the response back from drivers.

“I genuinely believe that speed cameras have an impact on road casualties and deaths over the years. Road deaths and casualties have gone down and I believe speed cameras have been part of that.”

Drivers will only be offered the course once within three years so they cannot keep speeding and opting for the course to avoid a driving ban.

And instead of having fines which go to the Government, Mr Ash said he hoped the money raised by people opting for the course would make the cameras self-financing, benefiting road users.