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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 08:07 
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A POLICE force is claiming to have dramatically cut road accidents . . . without hitting motorists in the pocket.

It was revealed last week speeding fines of more than £106m were handed out nationwide last year, four times the figure a decade ago.

The huge rise is blamed largely on the increased use of speed cameras which safety experts claim have helped cut road deaths.

The death toll nationally has dropped from 3421 in 1998 to 3172 in 2006 . . . a reduction of seven per cent.

Yet Durham Constabulary, one of just two forces nationally that don’t use fixed speed cameras, has seen its rate drop by 40pc . . . from 44 to 26. While latest released figures showed it fined motorists just £169,000 in 2006.

Neighbouring Northumbria police fined motorists more than £3m while Cleveland issued fines of £1.1m.

Durham has one mobile speed camera, as well as patrol cars fitted with speed detection equipment.

PC Dave Nixon, the casualty reduction officer for Durham, said: “The decision was taken at the highest level that we could do this in a proportionate manner.

“We felt that we could keep our community on side, so that when we need help on other things, they wouldn’t be reluctant to help us. That doesn’t mean we’re soft on speeding drivers but every officer has discretion. Sometimes a strong warning is all that is required.”

Durham operates a range of educational programmes to encourage motorists to reduce their speed including one-day lessons offered to every school pupil aged 16 in the county.

PC Nixon said: “We target young people just before they’re about to get their licence.

“The course is all about changing the attitudes of young people to speed and getting them to pass that message on to others, including their parents.”

North Yorkshire, the only other force that does not use fixed speed cameras, claims it recently cut the death toll by 15 per cent by targeting rogue drivers. Nearly 12,000 vehicles were stopped as part of Operation Anvil, between March and June, resulting in 208 uninsured vehicles seized and 105 drink drivers arrested.

Its speeding fines have dropped from £475,000 to £375,000 in a decade.

Northumbria, has 45 fixed cameras as well as 104 sites for mobile cameras where death rates are said to have fallen by 76pc.

However, Claire Armstrong of pressure group Safe Speed, said the cameras are not saving lives and wants them replaced by more officers on patrol.

She said: “You can drive up and down all day and not see a single police car. The Government should be ashamed of that.”

Speed limit sign radio interview. TV Snap Unhappy
“It has never been the rule in this country – I hope it never will be - that suspected criminal offences must automatically be the subject of prosecution” He added that there should be a prosecution: “wherever it appears that the offence or the circumstances of its commission is or are of such a character that a prosecution in respect thereof is required in the public interest”
This approach has been endorsed by Attorney General ever since 1951. CPS Code

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 09:37 

Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 14:05
Posts: 498
Great to see SS in the press a bit again with this story - it's a shame the Sun seem to have opted to leave out the substantial explanation by the Durham Officer as it weakens the story somewhat without it.

Well done to Clare for the bits of press coming in lately :) Hopefully it's a trend that'll continue :)

"Northumbria, has 45 fixed cameras as well as 104 sites for mobile cameras where death rates are said to have fallen by 76pc."

Is this across the whole county does anyone know? If so and it is sustained then you can't argue with those figures, or is this just at "camera sites" where RTM can easily be misused to make their stats sound better?

In Gear - is the 45% a sustained reduction from 1998, was '98 an unusually high year or is 2006 a decade low of 26? Obvo don't want people who argue against the SS cause to be able to say it's a momentary blip.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:22 

Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 14:05
Posts: 498
Just to follow up, someone on Pistonheads dug up the overall stats on Durham ... nlargement

And am pleased to see they do show a continual improvement generally in lowering casualties and accidents in total :)

For some reason the person who posted the link thought they showed this was a one off though... not sure how they got that

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