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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:15 
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Article - Cameras Vandalised
For tomorrow 9th Oct 09
Reporter : Ben Glaze

Paper : South Wales Echo & Western Echo
Wales Online Here

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 01:32 
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Ben Glaze, Western Mail wrote:
Angry motorists have vandalised over 100 speed cameras
Oct 9 2009 by Ben Glaze, Western Mail

DISGRUNTLED motorists have vandalised more than 100 speed cameras across Wales, according to figures released today.
Police recorded a range of attacks including arson, daubing lenses with paint and smashing glass in attacks on the machines .
Three of Wales’ four police forces provided statistics under the Freedom of Information Act, with Dyfed-Powys failing to answer the request.
The figures showed there were 21 acts of vandalism in North Wales over the past five years, 29 in South Wales since January 2006 and 52 in Gwent over the past seven years.
There were also several cases of vehicles crashing into cameras, although police classed them as accidents rather than deliberate.
Media Wales last year reported that 160,126 drivers paid £9.6m in fines in 2006, sparking claims speed cameras were sited to make money not save lives.

Claire Armstrong, co-founder of safespeed.org.uk, said last night: “If a policy is disrespected by the public, it can lead to these types of actions.”
She said the campaign group lobbied MPs to change laws over speed cameras and did not condone such direct action.
But she added: “We can understand the frustrations people feel.”

The statistics were uncovered by a Freedom of Information request covering January 2006 to July this year.
They showed South Wales Police spent nearly £6,000 paying engineers to repair cameras which had their lenses smashed, were covered in graffiti or targeted by arsonists.
But that did not include the cost to local councils of replacing seriously damaged devices.
No cameras were moved because of vandalism.
Cathy Keeler, deputy chief executive of road safety charity Brake, said: “Brake deplores such attacks. There’s no place in a civilised society for vandals who, having broken a law designed to protect the public, deliberately set about trying to destroy public property to get rid of the evidence of their wrongdoing.
“The evidence shows speed cameras help cut speeds, crashes and casualties. They are an important tool in helping to save lives on our roads.”

Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership manager Jim Moore said: “Cameras are proven to save lives and reduce the severity of collisions. Vandalism to cameras is a criminal offence and the police will actively pursue those responsible.”

He added: “People who vandalise cameras don’t seem to realise that every time a camera is damaged and put out of action, all road users are put at risk.
“People seem to think we place cameras where they can make the most money.
“This is not true.
“We can only put cameras where people have been killed or seriously injured, at sites of community concern or at roadworks.
“While there have been isolated attacks on cameras in Wales, we are pleased to say this isn’t a major issue and support for cameras, both static and mobile, in our communities is high.”

Labour AM for Alyn and Deeside, Carl Sargeant, said: “Looking at these figures I think it’s important to note there is only an isolated number of incidents – but as far as I’m concerned even one incident is too much.
“I know only too well that speed cameras are unpopular with some motorists, but they are an important safety measure to combat people driving too fast.”
Plaid Cymru South Wales Central AM Chris Franks said deliberately targeting speed cameras was “truly appalling”.
He added: “While safety cameras can be controversial they are in use to stop people driving too fast and, as everyone knows, speed is a significant factor in many road accidents and deaths.
“Criminal damage should not be condoned despite what some people might think of the cameras. I hope in future those responsible can be brought to book.”
Earlier this week the Conservatives pledged to scrap government funding for new cameras if they won the General Election.
Shadow transport minister Theresa Villiers told the annual conference in Manchester: “If local authorities want new cameras they’ll have to prove nothing else works better and they’ll have to find the money themselves.
“We’ll abolish Labour’s camera quangos and expose speed cameras to real democratic control.”

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