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Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
'Don't hide speed cameras' - police chief
Speed camera
Speed cameras have been shown to reduce accidents
A senior police officer has said speed cameras should be made more conspicuous to reduce motorists' resentment.

Norfolk's chief constable Ken Williams said concealing cameras to catch out more speeding drivers risks alienating them.

Our position isn't that we want to persecute the public and the motorist

Ken Williams
His comments came as road safety campaigners called on the government to press ahead with plans to introduce thousands more cameras, paid for by speeding fines.

Ministers are considering the move after a series of speed camera trials succeeded in reducing road accidents.

But one police force has already announced that it will not be going ahead with any general expansion of speed cameras, amid concerns about alienating the public.

Mr Williams, who chairs the Association of Chief Police Officers' traffic committee, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Police must keep drivers on side".

Bright and visible

He said it had been a mistake to conceal cameras.

Instead, police forces should follow his county's model where cameras were bright and visible.

"Police officers get no joy out of issuing fixed penalty tickets, but they get a lot of satisfaction out of changing behaviour and attitudes to speed," he said.

However, a pilot scheme in eight police forces, which allowed them to keep the proceeds from speed cameras, to be invested in road safety schemes showed a 7% reduction in deaths and serious injury, he said.

"Our position isn't that we want to persecute the public and the motorist, our position is that we want to change behaviour so that we reduce injury, we reduce deaths.

AA spokesman Andrew Howard said that the motoring organisation supported speed cameras but was concerned that people wrongly feared that the cameras were there to raise revenue for the police rather than promote road safety.

It is the police running scared of drivers who think it is ok to break the law

Lynn Sloman
Lynn Sloman, of the campaigning group Transport 2000 said: "We think that this is a response by the police to 'white van backlash' .

"It is the police running scared of drivers who think it is ok to break the law."

She said there needed to be more cameras and not just at accident blackspots.

"The money from these speed cameras is being recycled into saving lives," she said.

In Northamptonshire, where fines from speed cameras go to the police force, deaths and serious injuries fell 14%.

But the number of speeding tickets went up from 4,000 to 84,000 a year.

Motorists divided

A survey for the road safety group Brake suggested motorists are split over the issue.

While 70% thought cameras saved lives only 7% believed fines should be used to buy more cameras.

Government figures show speeding is endemic among car drivers, with more than half breaking the law on motorways and on 30mph urban roads.

In London, which has over 3,000 cameras, the Metropolitan Police has announced there will be no further general expansion in numbers.

New cameras will only be placed at accident blackspots.

An announcement is expected later this month on whether there will be major expansion in the number of cameras financed by revenue from speeding fines.

The BBC's Simon Montague
"Seventy per cent of drivers believe cameras do save lives"
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