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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 February, 2004, 12:44 GMT
Police chief's speed camera fears
Speed camera
Rospa says cameras have

A chief constable says speed cameras are turning the public against the police.

South Yorkshire's police chief Mike Hedges, who retires in August, says motorists view the gadgets as tax-raising machines.

He said: "I believe we have lost a tremendous amount of goodwill from the public. I think the biggest mistake we have made is getting money back."

Mr Hedges added he felt police were "losing the argument" over cameras.

He had backed speed cameras when they first became widespread but said the latest digital cameras, which churn out hundreds of tickets in the space of a few hours, had turned the public mood against them.

His sentiments reflect a growing belief within the police that cameras are being used to raise revenues rather than reduce speeds.

Britain's most senior police officer, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens has also expressed concern over speed cameras.

He said: "I don't approve of the use of speed cameras as money-making devices.

'Road hogs'

"The proper use for speed cameras is as a measure to lower the accident rate.

"I am not after people on the school run exceeding the limit by five or six miles an hour.

"I want my traffic policing to target the dangerous drivers, the road hogs, and the menaces who are driving unlicensed and uninsured."

Roger Vincent, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa), said: "Speed cameras save lives. They should be placed in areas where there are proven accident problems - and as far as we know they are.

"There has been a 35% reduction in deaths and serious injuries in areas where speed cameras have been placed."

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