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100 speed cameras on Essex roads – but which ones will catch drivers?

PUBLISHED: 00:01 04 November 2017

There are 100 speed cameras in Essex, but which ones are active? Picture: PA/ANDREW PARSONS

There are 100 speed cameras in Essex, but which ones are active? Picture: PA/ANDREW PARSONS

Essex has more fixed speed cameras than any other county in the region – but only a third of them are working, according to a survey of forces across the UK.

Motorists cannot always tell if a speed camera is working. Picture: STOCK IMAGEMotorists cannot always tell if a speed camera is working. Picture: STOCK IMAGE

The Press Association sent a Freedom of Information request to all 45 forces and their speed camera partnerships asking how many fixed speed cameras they have and how many are active.

The 36 which responded with data had a total of 2,838 cameras, of which 1,486 (52%) were active. Nine refused to disclose the information or failed to respond.

The figures cover all police fixed speed cameras, but not the mobile devices forces also use.

Essex has 100 fixed speed cameras – but only 33 are active, one of the smallest proportions in the country.

Suffolk only has four fixed speed cameras – but they are all active.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Safety cameras significantly help to reduce the numbers of serious collisions. Whether they are active or not they act as a deterrent, preventing people from driving at illegal and dangerous speeds.

“Fixed cameras are just one of a whole range tools we use to address driver behaviour to improve the safety of all road users and it is important to recognise the full range of engagement, enforcement and educational opportunities rather than to depend on the use of technology to enforce.

“Irrespective of whether cameras are active or not, the easiest way to not get caught speeding is by not doing it at all.”

AA president Edmund King said the high number of inactive cameras was down to pressure on budgets.

Mr King said: “Many of the empty yellow cases are due to cuts in road safety grants and the fact that digital cameras, although more effective, are very expensive.

“It is also reflective of the fact that proceeds from cameras are no longer allowed to be ring-fenced to be reinvested into yet more cameras as now all the money goes to the Treasury.”

But Claire Armstrong, co-founder of lobby group Safe Speed, which campaigns for more traffic police officers rather than speed cameras, said the investigation “proves police forces don’t believe in cameras”.

She said: “Forces are conning the public into thinking cameras are there for road safety because, if they really thought that, every single one of them would be on.”

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