‘Safety cameras are here to stay’

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MORE than half of the area’s speed cameras have been left useless after vandalism attacks – but drivers have been warned “they will be back”.

Love them or loathe them, speed cameras have proved a cost effective way of enforcing speed limits and saving lives, say Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership (LRSP), which has announced it is to spend £600,000 to repair and upgrade cameras over the next couple of years.

And in the future, setting fire to the roadside boxes could become an ineffective way of destroying evidence of a speeding offence as some film cameras are replaced with digital technology which would send data to a back office in seconds.

LRSP spokesman John Siddle said: “The decision has now been made at county level that we are going to keep speed cameras and there is a very good reason for that – they are the most cost effective thing we can have to reduce speed at particular points on roads where there have been deaths and serious injuries.

“What people still don’t seem to understand is that slowing trafic down at just particular danger spots is what cameras are all about.

“From experience we know that if the small minority of drivers who speed are going too fast at these danger points there is a likelihood of them having a collision and killing themselves or innocent bystanders, so the cameras are there to slow them down.”

South Lincolnshire has about seven speed cameras, and as many as four of them are believed to be damaged and out of use at present.

Mr Siddle condemned those who vandalise the cameras, which cost up to £40,000 each to replace, because he says the money which has to be spent to relace them has to be diverted from funding important road safety roles, such as casualty reduction officers and officers who go into schools to teach children about road safety, as well as speed indicator devices, which flash up a motorist’s speed as they pass.

He said: “If someone is caught speeding they can face a fine of about £60 and three points on their licence, but if they are caught causing £40,000 damage to a speed camera, they could face a prison sentence. They could lose their liberty, their job, their home – instead of just a fine. It doesn’t make any sense.

“We don’t want to send people to prison but if we catch someone we will press for the maximum sentence because by having to spend money repairing equipment it is affecting law abiding citizens. It’s not about the money, it’s about protecting lives.

“There is no point thinking that burning speed cameras will get rid of them. They are here to stay.”

The LRSP is now negotiating with companies to find the best value for money for new cameras and repairs and work is expected to start within three or four months.