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Friday, 31 March, 2000, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Speed cameras go public
Superintendent Chapman
South Yorkshire police hope the move will save lives
Jerry Ibbotson writes for BBC News Online

Traffic police in South Yorkshire are giving away the secret locations of their speed cameras in the hope of cutting the number of road deaths in the county.

They are using the internet to publish a list of sites where they set up traffic cameras.

The view from a police car chasing a speeder
The view from a police car chasing a speeder
The head of South Yorkshire's traffic unit, Superintendent Stuart Chapman, is behind the idea. He believes drivers who know where speed cameras are will be deterred from breaking the legal limit.

He said: "We'd rather issue fewer tickets. We'd just like people to stick to limits and reduce the number of collisions and therefore casualties. That's what our job is about, not increasing the number of prosecutions."

There will always be some who ignore the message

Superintendent Stuart Chapman
The list of sites has gone up on the South Yorkshire Police website and gives details of where the cameras are and even the direction they point in.

There are mobile units set up in 30 or 40 speed limit areas around Sheffield and Doncaster.

It will be updated regularly but does not include fixed roadside cameras, which are operated by local councils.

Superintendent Stuart Chapman
The website will reveal speed camera hot-spots
Supt Chapman is faced with government targets to cut the number of road casualties by the year 2010.

He said: "From a personal view, and that of my staff, if we can deal with one less fatal collision it's one less message we have to deliver when we knock on a door and tell someone that's their loved-one has been killed.

Automobile Association spokesman Richard Freeman welcomed the move and said making the sites public was long overdue.

He told the BBC: "Our view has always been that they should be deterrents.

"A speeding motorist who goes past a camera may be completely unaware of it and have an accident around the next corner."

back of a police car
The AA say the move is long overdue
He believes the South Yorkshire approach of going public will help save lives, as speed is blamed for one third of all road deaths.

"A camera that catches lots of people isn't necessarily doing the most important job - making roads safer," said Mr Freeman.

Supt Chapman admits many people may simply speed up again once they are past the cameras.

"That's always a chance. There will always be some who ignore the message," he said.

But he said his officers were not going soft on drivers who ignore limits.

He said: "We'll still have officers on patrol in marked and unmarked vehicles and we're using new technology to catch speeders."

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02 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
Digital cameras take on film
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