posted 10 months ago

News That Half UK Speed Cameras Turned Off Alarms Safety Groups

Police forces that switch off all speed cameras revealed, those that keep them on and the reaction of safety groups

Number of speed cameras in UK

The UK’s fixed, permanent, speed camera deterrent works at half capacity as hundreds of cameras have been switched off in a move that concerns safety campaigners. Press Association freedom of information request data – that comes via 36 of 45 police forces – suggests only 1,486 of the 2,838 cameras have been turned on (52%).

Consider Northamptonshire Police, Cleveland Police, Durham Constabulary and North Yorkshire Police, for example. These forces have no fixed speed cameras in use. AA President, Edmund King, cites the reduction in road safety grants as a contributing factor.

Mr King adds: “It is also reflective of the fact that proceeds from cameras are no longer allowed to be ring-fenced then reinvested into yet more cameras”. The freedom of information request also confirms which forces use a fraction of their cameras. For example:

  • Staffordshire Police has 272 cameras (14 active)
  • Derbyshire Constabulary has 112 cameras (10 active)
  • Gwent Police has 17 cameras (8 active)
  • Police Scotland has 173 cameras (50 active)

Police forces elsewhere fully exploit their fleets of cameras, though. The City of London Police, Metropolitan Police Service, Lancashire Constabulary, Nottinghamshire Police, Suffolk Constabulary and The Police Service of Northern Ireland operate every fixed, permanent, speed enforcement camera within such areas. 


Safety charities want other police forces to follow suit as they consider cameras a critical tool that reduces casualties. Brake Director for Campaigns, Jason Wakeford, says: “1,800 people lost their lives on British roads last year and speeding is a factor in thousands of crashes. Speed cameras are a proven, cost-effective, way of reducing collisions and it's critical they are operational.”

IAM Roadsmart

Neil Greg, IAM Roadsmart Director of Policy and Research, adds: “The ultimate deterrent (to speeding) is knowing that if you flash that camera, you're going to get a ticket through the post. It's very important that drivers aren't tempted to take a chance to maybe have a go and see whether that camera is active”, he reveals.

Safe Speed

Safe Speed – in stark contrast – calls for speed cameras to be replaced with police officers that patrol the streets. Co-founder, Claire Armstrong, argues the freedom of information request data "proves police forces do not believe” in speed cameras. She states:

“Forces are conning the public into thinking cameras are there for road safety. If they really thought that every one would be on. They are a flawed safety policy. I am glad there are only 52% working”, Ms Armstrong confirms. “We'd actually like to see less.”