Budget cuts force police to switch off ‘too expensive speed cameras

Speed cameras have been switched off in part of the UK because they are too costly to run.

The last of the West Midlands’ 304 fixed cameras ceased operating yesterday following a decision by West Midlands Police last year.

The decision has the backing of the region’s councils which make up the West Midlands Road Safety Partnership Board, with the police now using mobile speed cameras instead.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Budget cuts are at the heart of decision, says West Midlands Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Garry Forsyth.

It has been the force’s job to manage and pay to run the sites, including traffic light cameras, with councils paying for maintenance.

However, the cash-strapped local authorities balked at the estimated £580,000 cost of upgrading the cameras to digital film, and do not have the money to continue running them.

Removing the cameras would cost £600,000.

The police are now using mobile cameras at speeding hotspots across Birmingham, Coventry, and the Black Country.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Forsyth said: “The cameras currently in use require a major upgrade in order to remain effective and this would cost both police and local authorities a considerable amount of money at a time of a reduction across public sector budgets.

“However, we are committed to road safety and this is why we are due to increase the number of mobile speed cameras from April.”

A review of the fixed cameras’ long-term future will be discussed in May.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the transport policy and research organisation the RAC Foundation, said: “We support the use of speed cameras as do the majority of the public but this financial squeeze will at least allow the authorities to reassess whether replacement cameras in the future are put in the right place to solve a real problem.

“We are encouraged that the police will deploy more mobile devices which give a flexibility the fixed boxes never could.”