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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2004 13:03 
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Speed fines used to pay bureaucrats
April 9, 2004 10:44

NORFOLK'S network of speed cameras has paid for consultants' fees, administration and office costs running into hundreds of thousands of pounds, it emerged today.

The spending on bureaucrats and admin comes despite claims that all cash from speeding fines goes into frontline road safety projects.

Nearly 40,000 motorists — a rate of 760 a week — were nailed by speed cameras in Norfolk in 2003, bringing in more than £1 million in fixed penalty fines.

A copy of the accounts, obtained by the Evening News, reveals £563,337 was spent on staff, offices and payments to consultants during 2002/2003.

Among the spending was:

# Consultancy — £117,080 — the proceeds of 1,961 fines — paid in "consultancy" fees, including £60,612 by Norfolk County Council. A further £56,468 (941 fines) for "consultancy" by Norfolk police. Norwich Magistrates' Courts claimed £62,611 (1,043 fines) in admin and staffing costs.

# Offices — £95,130 (1,585 fines) was paid for office and accommodation costs, including £64,410 at Norfolk County Council and £30,720 by Norfolk Constabulary.

# Salaries — £351,000 (5,850 fines) went on salaries for police officers and bureaucrats who control the speed camera network in Norfolk. Twenty-nine full-time bureaucrats are employed to run and police the network and to pursue motorists through the courts.

Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership (NCRP) was this week forced to pull the plug on a controversial camera on Grapes Hill, Norwich.

Other cameras are also to be investigated after a scathing report by Norfolk police found statistics used to justify some speed traps was questionable.

The partnership was set up in 2001 to run the county's speed cameras and has since doubled the number of fixed cameras to 18 and brought in mobile patrols along 72 stretches of road.

No one from the NCRP was available for comment, but earlier this week its chairman Supt Mark Veljovic said that a strategic review would now look at ways of making the partnership more transparent and accountable to the public, including appointing elected members.

"I am sure my board members will agree I am supportive of any measure designed to show true openness and transparency to the public," he said.

An interim set of accounts for 2003/2004, up to February 1, shows partnership expenditure has risen to £970,382, mainly due to an extra £48,000 needed to replace and repair vandalised cameras.

Norfolk's overall speed reduction strategy has put the county on course to meet Government targets to slash the number of people killed or seriously injured by 40 per cent for adults and 50 per cent for children by 2010.

The number of deaths on the county's roads has fallen by 37 per cent for adults and 54 per cent for children from the average recorded in the years between 1994 and 1998.


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