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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 July, 2003, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Speeding fines 'to go up 35'
Yellow roadside speed camera
Speed cameras generate indignation among many motorists
Fixed penalties for speeding and parking offences could rise by as much as 35 as part of a drive for better compensation for victims of crime, it has been reported.

Motoring organisations condemned the suggestion, with the RAC saying it was "unlikely to be welcomed by motorists".

The Sunday Times quoted from a leaked letter allegedly from Home Secretary David Blunkett to fellow ministers as part of efforts to increase the proposed 160m annual criminal injuries compensation budget.

The Home Office confirmed a review of the system had started, but refused to comment on the letter.

The newspaper said the surcharge would be imposed not only on fixed penalties, but also on fines for criminal offences as well as littering, dog fouling, graffiti and loutish and drunken behaviour.

Contentious issue

It quoted Mr Blunkett - in a letter to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott - as saying: "The proposals set out here would send out a clear message of placing the victim at the heart of the criminal justice system."

The Home Office spokeswoman said: "We are carrying out a review of the criminal injuries compensation scheme which we have already announced, but this is a leaked document and we are not prepared to comment on it at this stage."

Paul Watters, head of roads and transport policy at the AA Motoring Trust, said: "Generally, the amount claimed back from motorists in taxes, charges and penalty fines is enormous compared to what it used to be.

"I can't see the logic of paying towards criminal injury compensation from speeding fines, when it may be that no-one was injured."

The charity Victim Support said the compensation scheme was in desperate need of reform and whether or not a driver had caused injury was not the only issue.

"There never is a victimless crime, even if it is apparently innocuous, society is suffering from it.

"The driver may have got away with not killing somebody on this occasion, but easily could have done.

"We have always felt that crimes affect the whole of society and that society should respond to crime collectively."

Camera anger

The methods of detecting and enforcing breaches of the speed limits continues to be a contentious issue.

The government announced plans at the end of 2001 to paint speed cameras yellow to ensure they could be seen by motorists.

The move was welcomed by many motorists who believe the government is unfairly targeting them in order to raise money rather than foster safety.

But road safety groups challenged the move and said more cameras and harsh enforcement of the law would cut deaths.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's June Kelly
"Parking tickets and other on-the-spot fines would also increase under the proposals"



SEE ALSO:
'Undercover' speed cameras do work
18 Mar 03  |  England
More speed cameras for Britain
11 Feb 03  |  UK News
Speed cameras 'will cut crashes'
03 Dec 01  |  UK News


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