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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 20:49 
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Top cop slates speed camera partnership
March 30, 2004 18:45

A shocking attack has been launched on the county's network of speed cameras – by the county's top policeman.

Chief Constable Andy Hayman will present an interim report to the Norfolk Police Authority on Tuesday that levels a series of criticisms against the body that operates the cameras, Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership.

The report claims:

* Several cameras fail to meet national rules on siting
* Crucial accident data has been destroyed
* Cameras are not being properly monitored

Mr Hayman also slates the partnership's management for not being "robust" enough – despite it being chaired by a senior police officer, with two others on its board.

Partnership board chairman Supt Mark Veljovic refused to comment on the report, saying he would wait until the full report was complete.

"These are only interim results, and I think it would be inappropriate to comment until the results have been published in full," he said.

"We are fully co-operating with the reviews that are currently ongoing."

The partnership was set up to run the county's speed cameras in 2001, and is made up of the police, Norfolk County Council, the University of East Anglia, local NHS bodies, the Highways Agency and Norfolk magistrates.

It took over nine police-run speed cameras, doubled the number of fixed cameras and introduced mobile patrols along 72 stretches of road.

But there has been growing public unease about the use of cameras, with many motorists accusing the partnership of choosing camera sites to raise cash rather than stop crashes.

The complaints prompted Mr Hayman to order an investigation into the way the partnership was being run, looking at 15 fixed sites, three proposed fixed sites and 20 mobiles sites.

In his report, Mr Hayman says accident records had been destroyed, making it impossible to judge whether cameras were properly sited.

"A significant quantity of relevant documentation has been destroyed in line with Constabulary policy for the retention of documents.

"There is a reasonable expectation that the partnership team should have acquired and retained records relating to collisions which they used to justify the siting of safety cameras. This has not been the case.

"The accident book relating to the original nine legacy sites has also been destroyed and as such no examination of the validity of their positions was possible."

Mr Hayman also claims that a number of sites fail to meet the Department of Transport's criteria for the siting of speed cameras.

The guidelines say sites need to have had four fatal or serious injury collisions in the past three years, with speed a factor in some or all, and 20pc of drivers breaking the speed limit.

Norfolk Police Authority chairman Jim Wilson said: "We as an authority are concerned that confidence in the police is being eroded over something which neither the authority nor the Chief Constable has any direct control.

"What needs to change is that, in the way the police are accountable to their police authority and the county council departments to the county council itself, there needs to be an accountable body interposed between the partnership and the public."

His message echoes the comments of Norfolk County Council's scrutiny committee chairman Celia Cameron, who earlier this month said the partnership was "exclusive and secretive" and called for it to be more accountable.

The committee also decided to launch its own report into how the partnership is run. ... gory=News&

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