1. The History of Speed Enforcement
1.1 Enforcement cameras were first introduced
into the UK in 1991. A number of research studies have proved
beyond doubt that, together with engineering and education initiatives,
they can be an extremely effective mechanism for reducing road
casualties. A cost-benefit analysis in 1996114 showed that cameras
themselves five times in the first year of operation alone.
1.2 There is an established relationship
between reducing speed and reducing collisions: research by TRL
in 1993 showed that just a 1mph reduction in speed reduces collisions
by 5 per cent. This figure has now been validated in a more recent
study in 2000 also by TRL.
1.3 In December 1998, the then DETR, Home
Office and Treasury agreed that fine income from speed and red
light cameras could be used to fund additional camera enforcementa
recommendation from the original 1996 report. This process was
termed hypothecation, although "netting off" is a more
technically correct term and will be used here. Effectively, this
means that enforcement activity is self-financing and, therefore,
cost-neutral to the agencies involved including the police.
2. The "netting off" project
2.1 Because of the complexity of the arrangements
needed to make netting-off work, it was decided to pilot the approach
in a number of areas. The pilot aimed to demonstrate how best
to develop a workable relationship between local partnerships
comprising local police forces, highways authorities, magistrates'
courts and, where appropriate, the Highways Agency.
2.2 The large number of government departments
and agencies involved necessitated the formation of a project
board to oversee the scheme. This has representatives from ACPO,
DTLR, Home Office, Highways Agency, LCD, Welsh Assembly, Scottish
Executive, CPS, County Surveyors society (representing local government
interests) and Treasury. This is the first time that all of these
departments and agencies have worked together on a national project
of this scale and the arrangement has worked very well.
2.3 In 1999, 13 areas submitted bids to
pilot the scheme and the board selected eight to reflect a balance
of geographies, casualty problems and also different approaches
to enforcement. The areas chosen were Cleveland, Essex, Lincolnshire,
Nottingham, Northamptonshire, South Wales, Strathclyde and Thames
These pilots went live in April 2000.
3. Results from the first year of operation
3.1.1 In order to monitor the effect of
enforcement on speeding, surveys were conducted both before and
at various intervals after the introduction of cameras. Data was
collected at over 100 of the camera sites and involved over 800
separate speed surveys throughout the year.
3.1.2 These confirm previous research studies
that prove cameras do reduce speed and, over time, a consequential
reduction in casualties should be expected.
3.1.3 On average the percentage of drivers
exceeding the speed limit at pilot camera sites reduced from 55
per cent to 16 per cent.
3.1.4 Excess speed (more than 15mph over
the speed limit) at camera sites has virtually been eliminated.
The percentage of drivers exceeding the speed limit by more than
15mph at camera sites has reduced from an average of 5 per cent
before enforcement to just 1 per cent afterwards.
3.1.5 The increase in enforcement has reduced
the average speed at these sites by 5.6mph.
3.2 Effect on casualties in the camera
3.2.1 The 1996 cost benefit study, referred
to earlier, proved that speed cameras reduced casualties by around
28 per cent (red-light cameras by 18 per cent) at camera sites.
The eight pilot areas have been monitored to assess whether or
not they could demonstrate a similar reduction in casualties.
3.2.2 Before and after casualty data has
been analysed for over 250 sites.
3.2.3 In the first year, on average there
were 35 per cent fewer collisions at camera sites (compared to
a three-year average). This means there were 379 fewer collisions
at the selected sites as a result of increased enforcement.
3.2.4 Similarly, there were 47 per cent
fewer people killed and seriously injured at the camera sites.
On the basis of historical trend data it is estimated there were
109 fewer people killed or seriously injured as a result of increased
enforcement. Evidence from South Wales and Cleveland also indicate
that the initiative has been particularly successful in reducing
casualties among those most at risk from road collisionschildren
3.2.5 Using DTLR estimates it is possible
to estimate that £27 million has been saved by the reduction
of fatal and serious casualties at these sites.
3.2.6 On the evidence collected to date,
the cameras are having a substantial impactparticularly
in those areas that have a significant speed and casualty problem.
This strengthens the accepted wisdom that cameras should be located
in high-speed, high-casualty sites.
3.3 Effect on casualties in the wider
3.3.1 It was not expected that a crackdown
on speeding at certain casualty black spots would have an immediate
effect on casualties in the partnership area as a whole (as opposed
to specific camera sites). However, taken together, the pilot
areas have observed a decline in both casualties and collisions.
Not all of this should be claimed as a direct result of the additional
camera enforcement most areas had a strategy that comprised
education and engineering as well as enforcement. However, at
least some of the decrease is likely to be attributable to cameras
and associated publicity.
3.3.2 In total, the number of people killed
and seriously injured in the eight pilot areas is down by 18 per
3.3.3 The total number of collisions in
the eight pilot areas is down by 6 per cent.
3.3.4 Initial comparison with published
RAGB data on the first nine months of the pilot (April to December
2001) suggests that the pilot areas are showing a reduction in
fatal and serious injuries which is twice that for the rest of
3.3.5 Although the eight pilot areas were
originally set up for a period of two years, it soon became obvious
that the results were in line with previous research studies.
A decision was made, therefore, to push ahead with introducing
primary legislation to allow the scheme to be introduced nationally.
This has now been achieved and a clause was included in the Vehicles
4. National roll-out
4.1 On 13 August 2001, the Minister of Transport
announced the Government's intention to introduce the scheme nationally.
4.2 In October 2001, the project board accepted
bids from seven additional areas to join the scheme. These are
Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, North Wales, Staffordshire, Derbyshire,
Lancashire and Warwickshire.
4.3 A further 12 areas have submitted bids
to join the scheme in April 2002 and it is expected that all areas
will be accepted on to the scheme within two years.
4.4 In order to be accepted onto the scheme,
areas must first form strong local partnerships comprising the
local highways' authorities, the courts and the police. Some areas
are also partnering with the local health authority since the
scheme has proved to have an impact in reducing bed days.
4.5 To join the scheme, areas must present
a robust case to the project board. This sets out in great detail:
exactly where the enforcement activity
will take place;
the casualty history at each of these
sites over the last three years (particularly fatal and serious
the vehicle speeds (as measured by
surveys) to prove that there is a speeding problem at these sites
and to assess the impact once enforcement commences; and
the method of speed enforcement
4.6 This is the first time that there has
been any national control over camera locations. This was to prevent
accusations that cameras were being located either for revenue-generating
or for political purposes.
4.7 In addition, each area must include
within their case:
a statement that each of the cameras
will be well signed and highly visible;
a detailed breakdown of the costs
that are expected to be incurred (which will be paid by DTLR in
the form of a grant); and
a detailed communications plan, setting
out how each partnership intends to educate drivers about the
dangers of speed.
4.8 Following acceptance on to the scheme,
all of the costs associated with speed and red-light camera enforcement
are now recoverable.
4.9 In order to support the development
of the bids and analysis of the impact, DTLR have contracted with
external consultants to provide advice and guidance to areas so
as to maximise the road safety benefits. In addition, a national
communications manager has been recruited to ensure that there
is a common national message. This builds on the excellent work
that has been done in the eight pilot areas.
5. Public Perception
5.1 There has been a large number of research
studies into attitudes to cameras and these have been replicated
by the partnerships involved in the safety camera project. Broadly
speaking, attitudes to cameras is very positive. A survey carried
out by the South Wales partnership, for example, based on almost
6,000 respondents, showed that 85 per cent believed that the speed
of vehicles decreased with the use of safety cameras and that
most respondents (83 per cent) were in favour of such cameras.
Lincolnshire carried out a similar survey on the basis of a random
sample of people from the electoral roll and 1,452 questionnaires
were returned (40 per cent response rate). The results showed
that 89 per cent supported the use of safety cameras as a means
of reducing road casualties and 88 per cent of respondents (1,223
people) agreed with the statement that the primary aim of safety
cameras is to save lives. The results of all these surveys are
shown in the table below:
||Lincolnshire||Average of new surveys
|"Fewer accidents are likely to happen on roads where cameras are installed" (% agree)
|"Cameras mean that dangerous drivers are now more likely to get caught" (% agree)
|"Cameras are an easy way of making money out of motorists" (% agree)
|"Cameras are meant to encourage drivers to keep to the limits, not punish them" (% agree)
5.2 The results from these surveys are supported more
generally, by a survey by the insurance company Direct Line which
commissioned MORI to carry out 2,000 interviews nationwide to
assess public attitudes towards speed cameras in July 2001. The
key findings from the interviews carried out by MORI were the
vast majority of people (70 per cent) think that well placed cameras
are a useful way of reducing accidents and saving lives. 89 per
cent of respondents said that safety cameras made them think more
carefully about how fast they are driving.
5.3 Northamptonshire were the only project to appoint
a fully dedicated Marketing/Communications Officer. Radical ground-breaking
ways of promoting the project were delivered including the use
of local radio, papers, bulletins and the Force website to proactively
publish the locations of the cameras on the designated routes.
Using a means known as "Public Service Announcements"
locations of the cameras were announced daily. This was combined
with the production of route-specific leaflets, which provided
information, advice and guidance to the public as to the hazards
that exist on particularly dangerous routes in the county.
5.4 As a direct result of the success locally the DTLR
decided it was necessary to appoint a National Communications
Lead to support the national roll-out programme. The position
is paid for by the "netting off" process and the appointment
was made by DTLR in October 2001. Susan Beck reports to the Strategic
Board of the National Safety Camera Scheme and she represents
all the partners involved in the scheme at national level. Her
(i) establishing and maintaining a positive relationship
with the national press;
(ii) delivering the message of "casualty reduction"
in a clear and concise way to the public;
(iii) offering support, guidance and expertise to all
the partnerships involved in the "netting off" scheme
on building and designing an effective communications and PR strategy;
(iv) sharing and establishing new links between the greater
Road Safety movement;
(v) effecting a positive change in driver behaviour and
making "speeding" as anti-social as "drinking and
(vi) building on and devising public attitude surveys
providing clear evidence of trends and changing behavioural patterns.
5.5 So successful has the Northamptonshire experience
been that the National Safety Camera Scheme now requires every
participating area to employ a full-time publicity and marketing
manager, and a national lead officer works to the Safety Camera
Board as detailed in the next paragraph.
5.6 ACPO is satisfied that there is overwhelming public
support for the Safety Camera Scheme. We are confident that provided
it continues to be properly managed then this level of public
support will continue, despite the rather weird opposition of
two high profile newspapers.
6. Future Developments
6.1 The Safety Camera Scheme is now being extended nationwide.
We anticipate that all forces in the UK will have joined within
the next two years.
6.2 The concept of "netting off" has been a
great success. ACPO is keen to extend it to other aspects of road
policing using ANPR cameras. Project Laser is being developed
for this purpose at present.
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