Suffolk’s speed cameras back in operation

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SPEED cameras are back in action in Suffolk just weeks after police switched them off due to lack of funding.

All fixed speed cameras in the county, including sites in Brandon, Haughley, Earl Stonham and Coddenham, were shut down on July 1 because the police did not have enough money to keep them operational.

But Suffolk police have now announced that the cameras have been switched back on following a recent meeting between police and county councillors.

During 2011, the police will review the suitability of the current camera sites over their ongoing costs or whether a move to digital technology is necessary.

Assistant Chief Constable of Suffolk Police, Gary Kitching, said fixed speed cameras were an important part of road safety.

He said: “Road safety is our priority. Speed enforcement cameras are a key element in our approach.

“We have a mobile capability and will work with Suffolk County Council to maintain the static camera capability.”

Suffolk Police Authority chairman Joanna Spicer said: “We, together with the council, are committed to enhancing road safety in Suffolk and this demonstrates our partnership-approach to reducing road crash casualties.”

But critics of the scheme have said cheaper alternatives should have been looked into if the cost of static speed cameras was too high.

Emma Boon, campaign director at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “If Suffolk Road Safety Partnership were struggling to afford to run their speed cameras, then they might have considered other cheaper alternatives. There is more to road safety than people driving too fast and cameras don’t prevent this, they merely issues fines after the offence has been committed.”

In September the reinstatement of camera sites will be discussed at the Suffolk Road Safety Partnership meeting.

The police authority will also meet later in the year to decide on the camera’s long term future.

Road safety campaigners say that speed cameras save lives and that the decision to turn the cameras on should be commended.

Kath Hartley, from road safety charity Brake, said: “Speeding drivers cause deaths and serious injuries on our roads that devastate families and whole communities.

“It is therefore vital to have effective deterrents in place to ensure that drivers keep within the limit. Brake strongly urges other local authorities to follow this positive example.”