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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 12:17 
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massive link to EDP article


Speed cameras secrecy probe

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

March 17, 2004 08:00

The team running Norfolk's speed cameras was branded secret and unaccountable last night as councillors demanded major changes to make it more accountable to the public.

The county council's scrutiny committee heard there was growing anger that the Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership (NCRP) was not answerable to taxpayers and was basically running itself without any democratic input. Members want the process opened up, with councillors given seats on the board.

And in a separate development, the EDP has learned that Norfolk police have commissioned a fresh report into the siting of speed cameras amid growing hostility from motorists and a suspicion that some locations have more to do with raising revenue than reducing accidents.

Funds raised from fines on speeding motorists are used to pay for the NCRP, with any surplus going to the Treasury's coffers in Whitehall.

The move comes less than six months after a previous study was compiled to look into similar claims, which found that 82pc of the public and 79pc of motorists backed them.

Since then, there has been a well-publicised national backlash against speed cameras, and police insiders are privately hoping the NCRP can be opened up to greater public scrutiny.

Officials fear the preliminary findings have highlighted that the cameras were not placed solely where they should be, according to Department of Transport criteria. They feel the siting situation and the perceived "democratic deficit" needed to be tackled if the public were not to lose faith in speed cameras.

Councillors complained they were unable to get information out of the partnership on basic points such as how much money it spent, how many staff it had, and the siting of cameras.

Celia Cameron, scrutiny committee chairman, said members wanted to know why the partnership was "so exclusive and secretive".

"There is the issue in general of members not knowing who is on the board, what it does or how it makes its decisions," she said. "I think there is an issue about whether we should have member representation on the board."

The drive for greater openness was part of a wider concern that such local partnerships ? part of the Government's drive to improve public services - were not accountable.

She added that the scrutiny committee was set to look at the Children's Fund later in the year because of similar concerns about lack of councillor involvement.

Stephen Bett, chairman of the planning, transportation and the environment review panel and also a member of Norfolk Police Authority said the NCRP lacked transparency.

"As far as the Police Authority are concerned the police are very nervous about the criteria being observed by the camera partnership," he said during the meeting.

"When the chief constable asked where the sites were and why they were there he got very short shrift and he is not very happy about that.

"There is very great concern from the police because they are getting the flak for what's going on and they have no control over it."

And he said it should be opened up to full public scrutiny.

"I think we ought to have members of this council on the board," he added. "I think they need to be answerable and at the moment I don't think they are. We do not know how many staff they have got and we do not know why they have got these staff.

"The police are doing their own independent investigation into this, looking at where the cameras go and everything else about it. I think it would be very useful to have because it will tell us where the accidents are."

The committee agreed that a report should be prepared for the Planning, Transportation and the Environment Review Panel, which could make recommendations to the council's cabinet about the accountability issue.

Mervin Dadd, Norfolk Constabulary spokesman admitted the new report was a reflection of the changing public mood.

But he said it was too early to comment on the new report as investigations were still continuing and the findings would be submitted to the Police Authority.

"The Constabulary is aware of the public's apprehension over the use and positioning of safety cameras," he said. "If cameras are to remain accepted as an important tool in road safety it is essential that the public can be confident that cameras are positioned in appropriate places and in accordance with the criteria set by Government.

"At the beginning of this year, we commissioned our own thorough review of camera sites throughout the county. Once this research has been completed, it will be presented to the Police Authority for their scrutiny."

Nobody from the NRCP was available for comment yesterday.

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The Safe Speed campaign demands a return to intelligent road safety


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2004 17:45 
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the press said..
the EDP has learned that Norfolk police have commissioned a fresh report into the siting of speed cameras amid growing hostility from motorists and a suspicion that some locations have more to do with raising revenue than reducing accidents.

by all accounts, the councellors have demanded same of the police force..

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 12:29 
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Link to article

Speed cameras defended as saving lives
ROWAN ENTWISTLE
March 23, 2004 06:30

The partnership in charge of Norfolk's speed cameras last night responded to criticism that it was both secretive and unaccountable.

At a meeting last week, members of the county council's scrutiny committee heard there was growing anger that the Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership (NCRP) was not answerable to taxpayers and was basically running itself without any democratic input.

But last night the partnership responded to those criticisms saying it received many requests for information which were always dealt with in an "open and transparent" way.

Information concerning the deployment of cameras is published in the media and on local and national webistes, a statement read.

On the question of accountability the partnership said it operates under the rules and guidance set down by the Department for Transport and National Safety Camera Programme for England and Wales.

"Every year each partnership must submit and have approved an operational case setting out its objectives, enforcement, education and public information plans, together with projected costings," it said.

The statement said the NRCP was fully aware of the level of public concern over the siting of safety cameras and it was co-operating with the review being conducted by Norfolk Police.

It also listed the organisations which make up its board, which responsible for the local strategy and performance review.

Those organisations are: Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk County Council planing and transportation department, the Highways Agency, Norfolk Magistrates Court Service, the Crown Prosecution Service, Norfolk Health Service Primary Care Trusts and the University of East Anglia School of Environmental Science.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 13:36 
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they say..
Those organisations are: Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk County Council planing and transportation department, the Highways Agency, Norfolk Magistrates Court Service, the Crown Prosecution Service, Norfolk Health Service Primary Care Trusts and the University of East Anglia School of Environmental Science.

and one of the partners isn't happy and is taking a peek at what the council do. For when all is said and done the partnership is basically run by the council, with a few people thrown in to help on the commitee. the names , ie unviersity, magistrates etc make it sound like a meeting of the great and the good, fact is still the miserable inefficient council on the job thinking they are making a profit, just because on this budget they haven't overspent.!!!!

They like all the partnerships are spending to much and achieving to little.. they lie about their success by fiddling the figures, and everyone but everyone is fed up with it.

One qualification some partnerships can point to a good result, ie deaths down accident down, others are unable to do so. so they point to spurious numbers from the murky world of statisitcs. Next year its all change..

they said..
The county council's scrutiny committee heard there was growing anger that the Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership (NCRP) was not answerable to taxpayers and was basically running itself without any democratic input. Members want the process opened up, with councillors given seats on the board
unquote

simply not acceptable, regardless of if the partnership mafia are telling the truth or lying thru the back of their teeth. They should be open to public examination , in just the same way as the police or any other body is..even parliment will suffer a question from joe public via their mp & we can attend all of their meetings.

Better still they should go !!!!

rgds
bill


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