Safe Speed home
Understanding
Communicating
Navigating
Issues
News
Helping
About Safe Speed
Hampshire Diary
A traffic cop's view

 
Introduction

We've been receiving emails from a serving Hampshire Traffic Policeman who's rather disgusted with what's been happening. We're quite certain these emails are genuine. His name is withheld for obvious reasons.

15th May 2003

Hampshire has 16 x speed cameras. None of them yet work.

The cameras measure all vehicle speeds for stats purposes. In the first week, of April 11,000 cars passed the sites and the infringement rate was set at 40 mph. Since only 18 cars, yes 18 of 11,000 were speeding by that measure, the plans to send drivers doing 36 - 40 a letter asking for compliance and a leaflet only have been scrapped.

They would not pay for themselves. The safety camera partnership that runs the things is growing at one hell of a rate. They employ a dedicated statistician (spelling?) and press officer. More employees planned. They have so much money from mobile camera enforcement, even they are embarrassed. They are spending it flat out to minimize returning it to government. Next big project to try and soak it up is to pay for a new traffic super garage (circa 2m). Web site being built too.

One of many big deceits is the criteria for the cameras at 4 x KSI on the site over a 3 year period. Nobody is supposed to realize that the KSIs to make the site qualify are mostly not speed related. The partnership is a very vested interest with a different tack to the police. Only self interest of more cameras and building the empire.

In all it's very embarrassing and I'm ashamed of what this is becoming.

9th June 2003

Happy to separate proper casualty reduction and policing by consent from the beast it's becoming.

The Supt in charge of Portsmouth Police had 12 x NIP's land on his desk for police cars yesterday! Some are legit i.e. on blue lights (they are still going through the motions and checking) and some are not. I.e. CID car @ 65 mph in 40 mph.

28th July 2003

It gets worse.

We now have an official 'target' of turning the 33,000 annual tickets into 120,000 tickets a year for Hampshire.

They have also got permission subject to certain criteria to have covert filming of some roads. Not been done so far - very sensitive funnily enough but it's in the pipeline. Nine of Hampshire's cameras now work although it has been a fiasco so far!
All police cars going through get NIP'd even those on blue lights. The driver has to do a report to get it cancelled. The partnership are doing a series of publicity events to convince everybody cameras are a good idea, such as the New Forest Show.

Almost all of us in my traffic office are anti-camera, at least in the form they are taking. As always the need to get rid of the cash or find something new to spend it on continues. Another analyst post created, a traffic sgt to interface between police and partnership, media person and get this, some nice 'grasscrete' to park the vans on. All out of middle England's pay 
packet. Gosport is filling up with cameras on the A32. the road has a high casualty rate, but it's traffic choked rear end shunts for almost all!

28th July 2003
 
 

>Your email that was sent to Sir George Young has been forwarded to the 
>Constabulary for their comment, and then onto me as Project Manager for 
>the Partnership. We recognise this extract from the SafeSpeed website, 
>SafeSpeed being a small group of vehemently anti-speed camera lobbyists 
>who have been working over the past year and a half to undermine 
>government efforts to reduce road casualties through a managed roll-out of 
>speed enforcement across the country.

And where's the evidence that there are casualty reductions? Exactly?

>I raise this simply by way of 
>introduction - the proponents of this website clearly have there own 
>agenda and it is no surprise that they will be hosting comments of this 
>nature on their web-page. Unfortunately they have not bothered to check 
>the accuracy of much of the contents of the statement that was supplied.

We cannot check the accuracy of such information, as Dr Sinclair very well knows. We published with faith and honourable intent and will continue to do so. 

>I have been asked to address the contents of the article and comment. It 
>is probably best to do that systematically, on a comment by comment basis.

>15th May  2003 Hampshire has 16 cameras. None of them yet work'.
>This is correct in that by the 15th of May the cameras themselves were not 
>yet operating as we were still in the middle of testing the processes and 
>systems. As I said in the media in the run-up to the launch of the 
>cameras, we would be applying a moratorium on the use of the cameras for 
>some weeks, to ensure that there would be no problems with processing the 
>offences. It also gave the public some time to get used to the sight of 
>the cameras before we started filming speed offences through them, which 
>we believed would be the fair thing to do.

Accurate then.

>"In the first week of April 11,000 cars passed the sites and the 
>infringement rate was set at 40 mph. Since only 18 cars, yes 18 of 11,000 
>were speeding by that measure, the plans to send drivers doing 36-40 a 
>letter asking for compliance and a leaflet only have been scrapped."

>Two major inaccuracies here. One - there was never a proposal to set 
>enforcement thresholds at anything OTHER than the same levels we already 
>used on our mobile routes. This Constabulary adheres to the ACPO 
>guidelines for speed enforcement, and it had been agreed in mid-2002 that 
>fixed cameras and mobile cameras would continue to be set at these levels 
>(from 36 mph in  30 mph zone, 47 mph in  40 zone etc).

These look like weasle words to us. Read both carefully and see if you agree. Where's the mention of the plan to send a letter in the reply?

>Secondly, the figures quoted here are both partial and incorrect. We had 
>data from only 3 of the camera units by the first of April, indicating 
>figures for three sites that simply bear no match for the figures quoted 
>here. All of the sites that we use cameras at have are required to have at 
>least 20 percent of vehicles exceeding the speed limit prior to 
>enforcement. We expect to see a significant reduction in that level as 
>soon as a camera is installed, particularly in the first few weeks after 
>installation. If this data had indeed been collected (though the data that 
>I have bears no resemblance to these figures) it would have indicated a 
>good reduction in excessive speed, and would thus have been something for 
>us to have been pleased with. But I can state categorically that no data 
>of this sort was ever used to determine threshold levels, as these had 
>been agreed by the Partnership, under the guidance of the Police, months 
>before fixed cameras were a reality in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

>"The safety camera partnership that runs the things is growing at one hell 
>of a rate. They employ a statistician and a press officer. More employees 
>planned. They have so much money from mobile camera enforcement, even they 
>are embarrassed. They are spending it flat out to minimise returning it to 
>government. Next big project to try to soak it up is to pay for a new 
>traffic super garage (circa 2m). Web site being built too."

>The writer was correct in recording that a data analyst, media officer and 
>web-site had been funded through the Partnership. What he/she fails to 
>report that all three are requirements of all Safety Camera Partnerships. 
>We are obliged to employ a data analyst to ensure that the data we use is 
>correct and up-to-date. We are obliged to employ a press officer and host 
>a website because education is one of our key areas or responsibility and 
>the rules of the national Safety Camera Partnerships insists that we adopt 
>one.. The only other staff brought on to the Partnership have been police 
>officers to assist with speed enforcement, our key business, or clerks to 
>process tickets - both legitimate spends. We have never been 'embarrassed' 
>by the revenue - our growth in ticket numbers over the course of the year 
>was extremely modest. By that stage, in fact, there had not yet been any 
>increase, and so the accusation that we were embarrassed is simply 
>fantasy. Our ambition, however, is not to see an increase in ticket 
>numbers or revenue, but on the contrary to get to a point where the 
>numbers of speeding motorists falls at all our sites to the extent that we 
>have achieved what we set out to do - reduce speeding and  speed-related 
>casualties on our routes.
>
>The Safety Camera Partnership is not able to contribute financially in any 
>way to any of our Partners for any activates not directly related to 
>Safety Camera enforcement. There is no way that we would be able, let 
>alone interested, in funding  a Roads Policing Unit "garage".
>
>"One of the many big deceits is the criteria for the cameras at 4 x KSI on 
>the site over a 3 year period. Nobody is supposed to realise that the KSIs 
>to make the site qualify are mostly not speed related. The partnership is 
>(sic) a very vested interest with a different tack to the police. Only 
>self interest of more cameras and building the empire."
>
>Again, this is full of half truths and inaccuracies. Yes the criteria do 
>require 4 KSI accidents over three years but the criteria also require 
>speed data to ensure that there is a significant speed problem at that 
>site - at least 20 percent of vehicles exceeding the speed limit and 85th 
>percentiles have to be at ACPO levels or above. Both of these are reliable 
>indicators of excessive speed. Together the speed and casualty criteria 
>are considered to have a natural cause-effect relationship. This 
>Partnership applies a more accurate test, however - we do a detailed 
>analysis of every accident to determine primary and secondary causes, and 
>will exclude any site at which fewer that one-third of all accidents were 
>potentially speed related. That way we can ensure that speed enforcement 
>will reduce casualties at that site, which is our primary objective. It 
>means that we have far fewer cameras than a number of other Partnerships, 
>but we have the certainty that they have been located based on the best 
>intelligence possible. We do not use a different tack from the police - 
>the Police are our leading Partner in the Partnership and we follow police 
>processes and protocols in every way. Every one of our operational 
>decisions has been made following consultation with senior police officers 
>and is in line with standard police practice. This includes, and is well 
>illustrated, in our use of enforcement thresholds which has already been 
>addressed.
>
>"The Supt of Portsmouth had 12 x NIPs land on his desk for police cars 
>yesterday!"
>I can confirm that we do, routinely, get a number of emergency vehicles on 
>our cameras. Where records indicate that they were on legitimate business 
>and the excessive speed had been unavoidable they are duly cancelled. 
>Where they were not the offence notice is served on the driver in exactly 
>the same way as it would be for any other member of the public. I can only 
>surmise that the writer feels that extra leniency should be applied to 
>police officers, which is something that we would not agree to.
>
>"We now have an official target of turning the 33,000 annual tickets into 
>120,000."
>This is entirely untrue. We do not work to targets related to numbers of 
>tickets or revenue, only to the 2010 targets relating to the reduction of 
>casualties on our roads.
>
>"They have also got permission subject to certain criteria to have covert 
>filming of some roads" This is again entirely incorrect. This has never 
>been raised, let alone debated, in this Partnership. I understand that one 
>other Partnership has used covert operations to address their motorcycle 
>fatality problem but this has not been a policy that has been adopted in 
>Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Neither is it 'in the pipeline'. We have 
>gone to great lengths to explain to the public that we want them to be 
>aware of where cameras are because that will help reduce speeds and 
>casualties. Why would we jeopardise all that good will by doing covert 
>operations?
>
>"Almost all of us in my traffic office are anti-camera, at least in the 
>form they are taking. As always the need to get rid of the cash or find 
>something new to spend it on continues. Another analyst post created, a 
>traffic sgt to interface between police and partnership, media person and 
>some grasscrete to park the vans on. All our of middle England's pay-packet."
>
>Once again - incorrect. No new media person, no new analyst. One of each 
>is enough thank you. We have no urgency to spend money - every bit of 
>expenditure is planned for a year in advance and all of it has to be 
>justified to the Department or Transport in advance. All expenditure is 
>audited specifically to ensure than no unnecessary or inappropriate costs 
>are being incurred. The funds for the Partnership are coming only from 
>revenue that is generated by drivers exceeding the speed limit. That has a 
>natural justice about is. The answer - to those who want to see the end of 
>Safety Camera Partnerships - is very simple - don't speed. Not only will 
>we be delighted because road deaths and serious accidents will come down, 
>but so will they, and Safety camera Partnerships will become redundant. A 
>win-win situation.
>
>Overall, the tone of this letter sounds like it comes from someone with 
>a  grudge. We know that not all of the public supports speed enforcement, 
>although our own research indicates that 86% of the public support the use 
>of cameras to reduce casualties, and the BBC research found the level to 
>be in the region of 75%. However we have to accept that there will always 
>be an element of the media that is hostile to what we do, and similarly 
>that not all the employees within our Partner organisations will fully 
>agree with speed enforcement. Given that this was a SafeSpeed web-page 
>article I suspect that the whole intention of the article was to add 
>weight behind the pressure to stop speed enforcement completely across the 
>UK, and allow drivers to choose their own 'safe' speed. That is the 
>fundamental belief of the Safe Speed group. For your information the 
>SafeSpeed Webpage clearly states: "We believe that the Government, the DfT 
>and their subcontractors are conspiring to mislead the public about the 
>nature of road dangers....The Advertising Standards Authority recently 
>ruled that "speed cameras save lives" was  legitimate and permissible 
>claim, but they were misled and we are trying to set that straight". They 
>are obviously wanting to show that Safety Cameras Partnerships are either 
>unnecessary or corrupt, and the writer of this article clearly had the 
>same motive. It is interesting to note that there have been no further 
>contributions to that websiste by this writer since July 2003, and I can 
>only assume that he/she has since got to know more accurate details about 
>that Partnership and has no more mistruths to add. What I hope has 
>happened is that he/she has come to see the very real difference we are 
>making to road safety, and how carefully we go about our business, and has 
>become one of the growing numbers of our supporters across the county.
>
>
>In conclusion, let me make the point that evidence nationally, 
>internationally and locally shows that speed and red-light camera 
>enforcement reduces the number of accidents. An independent study of the 
>eight pilot Safety Camera Partnerships, which was published by the DfT in 
>February 2003, shows a 35% reduction in the number of people killed or 
>seriously injured at camera locations and a 56% reduction in the number of 
>pedestrian casualties at camera locations.  Our latest figures show that 
>on our mobile routes last year (April 2002 to March 2003) there was a 22 
>percent reduction in personal injury accidents and a 28 percent reduction 
>in serious or fatal injuries. We are extremely careful to carry out our 
>enforcement in the most intelligent and moderate way possible, and I 
>believe our attention and care is paying off.
>
>Dr Marion Sinclair
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

You can't measure safe driving in miles per hour

We have a strict editorial policy regarding factual content. If any fact anywhere on this web site can be shown to be incorrect we promise to remove it or correct it as soon as possible.
Copyright © SafeSpeed 2003
Created 28/07/2003. Last update 28/07/2003
footer  
Google
Web www.safespeed.org.uk
Safe Speed navigation:
front page forums join Safe Speed press / media email
main page site guide Paypal donate contact comments
See our new user's 'home page'

Note new address and telephone