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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 December, 2003, 09:12 GMT
Force in row over speed cameras
speed camera
Static speed cameras are not used in Durham
A police force in the north-east of England has been told to rethink its anti-speed camera policy after a rise in the number of road deaths.

Road Safety Minister David Jamieson said Durham Police must explain why more people were being killed and injured on its roads.

The force has just one static speed camera and focuses on mobile and hand-held cameras instead.

But last year 42 people died on County Durham's roads - an increase of 56% on the previous year.

HAVE YOUR SAY
The majority of those caught are law abiding citizens who are only going three or four mph over the limit
Stuart, Preston

Mr Jamieson has told Chief Constable Paul Garvin to look again at his controversial policy.

The force has said it considers the figure a "blip" and remains confident its approach of using mobile and hand-held cameras is a more effective long-term solution to speeding.

But Mr Jamieson said: "The chief of police would perhaps have to explain to local people why it is from 2001-2002 casualties in terms of deaths and serious injuries, and particularly those to children, it is actually one of the few areas where they are going up rather than down.

"I think perhaps they need to re-examine their policy to see if some of those casualties can be reduced by installing safety cameras.

"He will have to explain why deaths are rising in this area."

Simply looking at speed cameras as the panacea to all evils, in my view, is not the way of doing things
Durham chief constable, Paul Garvin

Mr Jamieson said static speed cameras had cut road deaths and serious injuries by 35%.

And most "sensible" motorists backed their use.

He added: "When we see the figures on how we are reducing deaths, particularly amongst children, the vast majority of motorists who drive safely and carefully know that is good sense."

The Durham force has set up a Casualty Reduction Partnership, which it says relies less on the use of speed cameras and more on education and promotion of road safety issues.

Chief constable Paul Garvin said: "What we find is that there is not a single location within the county where you could say speed cameras would be useful in addressing a road casualty problem.

Paul Garvin
Paul Garvin: Standing firm on speed cameras

"We are still seeing the level of road casualties in County Durham are 33% below the national average.

"I sympathise with every person who is a victim or family of a road accident in this county or anywhere.

"But I am trying to put my resources to the best use to reduce road casualties.

"Simply looking at speed cameras as the panacea to all evils, in my view, is not the way of doing things."

The road safety charity Brake has also criticised Durham's stance on speed cameras.

It says the government should compel Durham to establish a Safety Camera Partnership (SCP), which focuses on the use of both static and mobile cameras, to cut road deaths.

Recent government figures showed forces which use static as well as mobile speed cameras, saw road deaths fall dramatically.




SEE ALSO:
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