by Jeremy Sirrell
Speed cameras. Always a controversial subject and long thought of as being a method by which to extrapolate cash from motorists for the benefit of the police.
So when news broke about plans to fine motorists for travelling as little as 1mph over the speed limit as a means to raise funds for cash-strapped police forces, Downing Street stepped in to confirm that revenue from speeding fines would not go to the police.
The Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins had proposed to permanently switch on the variable speed cameras on the M1 motorway in an attempt to help Bedfordshire Police cope with reduced funding. However, the Government said that speed cameras are not income generators and revenue from offences would not go to the police force directly.
Speaking to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Mr Martins claimed proposals to slash £20 million from the force’s £100 million budget left Bedfordshire Police in a ‘desperate financial plight’ and left him to look at other means to generate funds.
“Strict enforcement of the speed limit could raise £1 million and to me that’s better than losing 25 more police officers,” Olly Martins told the committee.
Money from speed camera fines goes to the consolidated fund – the Government’s bank account at the Bank of England – for general expenditure rather than directly to the police. It is then distributed by the Department for Transport through grants.
The cameras in question are located between junctions 10 and 13 on the M1 motorway and at present, they are only active when speed restrictions are in place.
If the proposal had gone ahead, it would have done nothing to improve public perception of the use of speed cameras on UK roads. What motorists are most likely to find worrying about Mr Martins’ proposal is the astonishing lack of concern for the impact of endorsements upon their driving licence that his proposal would have entailed, thus further fuelling the suspicion that the authorities have a high handed and inflexible approach to these matters, which sits ill with a history of policing by consent.
Should you receive a document from the police offering a fixed penalty or threatening prosecution for speeding or any kind of motoring offence, the Road Traffic Department at Palmers Solicitors can provide specialist advice and representation with the aim of defending and preserving an individual’s licence wherever possible.
To find out more about how we can help you, please contact us.