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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 13:44 
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:gatso2: From the Daily Mail.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... urses.html

Fury over speed camera racket as police pocket £54MILLION a year by 'blackmailing' drivers to attend speed awareness courses
•Police pocketing millions from drivers attending speed awareness courses
•Last year 1.3million drivers were sent on the controversial one-day session
•Number of attendees has almost trebled in just five years it has emerged

By Chris Greenwood Crime Correspondent For The Daily Mail

Published: 22:19, 5 November 2015 | Updated: 07:36, 6 November 2015

Police forces are pocketing tens of millions of pounds by ‘blackmailing’ motorists to attend speed awareness courses, it has been revealed.

They received £54 million last year alone by sending more than 1.3 million drivers on the controversial one-day sessions.

The startling figures explode the myth that chief constables have no interest in snaring motorists because all fines go directly to the Treasury.

Police are pocketing tens of millions of pounds from motorists attending speed awareness courses, it has been revealed

Instead, they are quietly making millions by undercutting the Government-imposed fine and offering tempting places on ‘touchy-feely’ courses at hotels instead.

Details of the lucrative ‘industry’ emerged amid a furious row over the role of roadside cameras, with a senior police leader threatening to permanently switch on cameras on a busy stretch of the M1 to raise £1 million.

Olly Martins, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire Police, threatened to strictly enforce the 70mph limit, raising the prospect of motorists being fined for travelling just a few miles an hour faster.

Many drivers attend a course because it means they escape getting points on their licence – which could increase their insurance premium – and it is often cheaper than paying the speeding fine. The number of attendees has almost trebled in just five years.

Roger Lawson, of the Alliance of British Drivers, said: ‘This shows what an enormous amount of money the police are generating from this scam, which will of course be used to finance yet more speed cameras and more prosecutions.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said speed cameras 'are for safety and reducing dangerous driving, not raising cash' :loco: :liar:

‘Drivers are being blackmailed into taking an education course – pay up or incur an even larger fine. Why should the police be making £54 million a year from blackmail?’

Government figures yesterday raced to slap down Mr Martins, saying cameras should be used only to ensure the safety of road users. Downing Street attacked the proposal and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said it would be a flagrant breach of official guidelines.

Other Police and Crime Commissioners quickly distanced themselves from the move, saying that ‘speed cameras are there to make people safe’.

In private, many said they did not believe Mr Martins would go through with his threat, saying it was simply a politically motivated ‘PR stunt’ to grab public attention.

Essex leader Nick Alston said all money from motoring prosecutions should be ploughed into safety schemes, not used as a fund for other problems.

But the controversy showed no sign of going away as Mr Martins explained how his force would profit from the crackdown.

He revealed that although fines from speeding drivers go to the Government, individual forces profit from speed awareness courses. Last year, 1,355,796 drivers undertook the safety courses, according to the National Driver Offending Retraining Scheme, which oversees them.

The majority – 1,185,860 – attended speed awareness courses. Others attended sessions aimed at careless drivers, those who did not use a seatbelt and motorcyclists.

Police forces receive £40 for each attendee in most cases as a ‘cost recovery element’, with chief constables able to spend the money in any way they see fit.

In 2014, 1,355,796 drivers undertook the safety courses, according to the National Driver Offending Retraining Scheme, which oversees them

The courses, which cost drivers between £79 and £200, often involve watching videos, role-playing workshops and presentations. There is no test to pass and adverts promise a ‘relaxing environment’.

Official figures show a sharp increase in the numbers taking the courses from the 467,601 in 2010, when the scheme was in its infancy.

The National Driver Retraining Scheme is owned and overseen by a private firm, NDORS Ltd, which registered a £44 million turnover in March 2014. One director is former South Yorkshire Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes, who was once responsible for national roads policing. The courses are run by private providers selected by each individual force. They include private companies, including one formed by the AA, road safety partnerships and even county councils.

All of the courses are run to a nationally agreed model to ensure drivers have a similar experience.

In its most recent accounts, the firm appears to acknowledge its controversial business model could be vulnerable if the views of ministers change.

It warned of a potential change in policy about its role as a ‘politically acceptable model for diversion of road traffic offences to education as opposed to prosecution’.

But the directors said the most recent figures show police forces remain enthusiastic about the courses and that driver numbers were increasing.

‘Forces and partners recognise the value added to road safety by the secure and efficient administration of the scheme and new forces continue to join each year,’ they added.

Downing Street yesterday appeared to fall foul of the confusion which surrounds where cash from speed cameras ends up.

David Cameron’s official spokesman said: ‘We are very clear that speed cameras should be about safety, not about raising cash.

The point we would make to those thinking about using them for other means is that it is important to note that revenue generated from speeding offences doesn’t go to police forces, it goes to a central fund.’

Mr McLoughlin added: ‘Speed cameras are for safety and reducing dangerous driving, not raising cash. :jester: :no:

‘They should be located where there is likely to be a risk. This is yet another example of a Labour politician punishing drivers as a first resort.’

Sources at the Department for Transport accused Mr Martins of ‘crying wolf’ as they published statistics revealing our roads are the safest they have been for a decade.

The RAC said the majority of motorists saw speed cameras primarily as a money-making scheme for the police. :yesyes:

Chief engineer David Bizley said: ‘It appears that the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner harbours this view too. Enforcement needs to be prioritised in terms of road safety benefits and not in terms of the value of the revenues generated

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