Chief Constable Brunstrom has led a campaign against speeding
Speed camera protestors prepared to use explosives have been branded "terrorists" by the Association of Chief Police Officers spokesman, Richard Brunstrom.
Speaking on BBC One's Real Story, Mr Brunstrom was reacting to recent incidents in Northern Ireland and Nottingham where roadside cameras have been blown up.
"We've had things that are effectively terrorist devices, bombs, planted in speed cameras. It's lucky that no-one's been killed yet," he told the programme.
"These are people who as far as I can see would prefer to be allowed to drive dangerously and kill their fellow citizens, or my wife and children, or your family standing next to a bus stop, than pay a fixed penalty ticket for speeding."
The bombings are the most serious attacks so far in protests that have seen cameras across the UK destroyed with saws, angle grinders and paint.
The activist group Motorists Against Detection (MAD) says it has damaged 700 cameras.
A spokesman for MAD told Real Story that only cameras in isolated rural locations would be targeted by explosives.
"In a deserted place miles from anyone the only person they (the bombers) are going to hurt is themselves," he said.
Responding, Mr Brunstrom said the police had a duty to treat the attacks very seriously.
"This is terrorism - not of the sort that we fear internationally but this is terrorist behaviour. People making and planting bombs is terrorism and that's how we're treating it."
He admitted the police could have taken earlier attacks more seriously.
"I think frankly we've been a bit slow to recognise how big the problem was. We've only just in the last year or so begun to realise just how serious the attack is."
The first speed camera protestor to face prison for his actions could go to jail for up to three years later this month.
Police caught Karl Joyce attempting to set fire to a camera in Norwich that had captured two of his family speeding. Magistrates referred his case to the Crown Court after deciding their maximum penalty of six months in prison would not reflect the seriousness of the crime.
However, MAD's spokesman told Real Story that prison sentences would not stop the group from destroying speed cameras.
Real Story: Monday 17 November 2003 at 1930 GMT on BBC One and streamed live on the Real Story website.