Examination of Witnesses (Questions 200-219)|
WEDNESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2002
200. Mr Radford, under the scheme that you are
planning at the moment, can you put cameras in the area where
you have the application of funding, where the money has to be
recycled, or can you put them anywhere in the county?
(Mr Radford) At the moment we do not benefit from
the netting off process. We are forming a partnership in Gloucestershire
to take part in it because of the success of the pilot studies
that Stewart has mentioned. I add that one of the additional benefits
of netting off is that there is a requirement to work with the
public on this. Consultation and openness is very important with
speed cameras if we are to keep the support of the public. I think
that the long-term benefits of speed cameras will not simply be
the mechanistic application of speed reduction with a camera,
but the gradual acceptance that speed must necessarily be managed
more effectively if we are to ensure quality of life.
201. How many mobile cameras do you operate?
(Mr Radford) We have no mobile cameras at the moment.
We have 39 fixed camera housings and we have no mobile cameras.
That is what we hope to have if we are successful in our bid for
netting off money.
202. Are the cameras positioned in areas where
there is a history of accidents?
(Mr Radford) They are, yes. We have a strict criteria
for selecting sites, as a road safety measure.
(Mr Shortland) Our cameras are similarly located,
but we have eight mobile vans that tour the county visiting high
203. Mr Shortland, you seem to have invested
heavily in the speed management programme?
(Mr Shortland) Yes.
204. Have you broken even yet?
(Mr Shortland) We have more than broken even, yes.
We have achieved a 500 per cent rate of return. The income from
accident savings is five times greater than the cost and the income
from fines also exceeds the costs.
205. Can you give the Committee some idea of
when the scheme broke even? Was it early in the scheme?
(Mr Shortland) Yes, in relation to income from fines,
we started in April and I think it was around December that we
broke even in the first year.
206. Can you give the Committee an idea of how
many offences have to be identified to reach that point?
(Mr Shortland) It would depend on each county as to
how much infrastructure was put in, but in Northamptonshire it
was 65,000 offences.
207. Mr Thompson, on this issue of not allowing
speed offences to be transmitted to the control centre rather
than done at the roadside, what is your view?
(Dr Thompson) We are in the forefront of developing
and using digital technology. The company developed that equipment
over a nine-year period. We have gone through the process of testing
the public acceptability of it. One of the conditions that were
imposed on the use of this equipment was that the transmission
of the digital images would not be sent directly to police stations.
We are already in the process of receiving, in our traffic control
centre, images of offences that are taking place using CCTV equipment.
That gives an indication of the public acceptability of transmitting
information. The digital cameras are transmitting that information
down dedicated lines, so they are not open to public use as phone
lines are. There is not a lot of difference between data transmitted
to the side of the road as opposed to transmitted to some remote
location that may be more secure.
208. Is there a difference in public perception
about a CCTV camera in a city centre identifying someone who is
trying to pinch my car and another one that catches me speeding?
(Dr Thompson) The evidence that I have given to the
Committee is that there is a public acceptance of the use of these
cameras for speed enforcement where they address casualty savings.
Within the data that I have provided, there is evidence that the
general public understand that the cameras are implemented to
reduce casualties. They are not simply there to raise income,
as has been suggested by a number of people.
209. The Home Office will not allow that to
(Dr Thompson) Not at the moment, no.
210. Can you explain what benefits have been
gained in the project carried out in Victoria in Australia that
I understand uses covert methods?
(Dr Thompson) Yes. I can comment anecdotally on that,
but I cannot give the Committee figures on that. The representatives
from the Victoria project have shown a particular interest in
speed enforcement of the type that we use. They have been involved
in the process of enforcement using similar types of processes
for 10 years. Their view is that if you use purely highly visible
cameras you will end up with a situation where motorists can slow
down when they see the cameras and speed up again in other areas.
The view that they took was certainly that what they were aiming
forwe would agree with this statementwas a change
in the behaviour of drivers because the drivers recognise that
there is a link between speed and casualties, and that they should
drive at appropriate speeds within the speed limit for safety
reasons and not just to avoid being caught on cameras.
211. Would you say that the Government's decision
to highlight speed cameras by painting them yellow or putting
yellow strips on them is exactly the opposite to what you would
argue needs to be done?
(Dr Thompson) We have accepted the Government's recommendations
to paint the cameras yellow and an order has been placed for all
the cameras in Nottingham to be painted yellow. We have taken
no action to hide those cameras. Those cameras have always been
a visible statement of our intention to address casualty reduction.
We need to extend the consideration of speed and the impact of
speed into all the areas that we are managing as a highway authority.
When at a public meetingI attend almost one a monththe
most frequent question that I am asked as a highways engineer
is for something to address the speeds in the residential areas.
We need to encourage in drivers, through the speed at which they
drive particularly in residential areas, the belief that collision
avoidance is their responsibility. We shall not be able to achieve
that by engineering or enforcement cameras in the short term.
212. You seem to feel very strongly about this.
In your evidence you describe the Government decision to make
speed cameras conspicuous by saying that "the recent Government
approach could be compared to instructing undercover drug squad
officers to always wear a visible police badge". That is
pretty hard stuff.
(Dr Thompson) It is. It is a clear statement to say
that we need to consider the speed in the whole of the network
and not just where we happen to have a camera.
213. Briefly, was the Government's decision
based on scientific evidence?
(Dr Thompson) In my opinion, more evidence could have
been taken from the public opinion survey and on what the views
are of the highways authorities and the police on this particular
214. Are you saying that neither the highways
authorities nor the police were consulted before the decision
(Dr Thompson) We have not had the lengthy approach
to consultation that would be necessary for us to give a formal
215. What measures have you put in place to
ensure public support?
(Dr Thompson) In Nottingham, as part of the netting
off process, we have allocated £20,000 per annum to emphasise
the link between speed and casualties and to explain exactly why
we are operating the enforcement programme.
(Mr Shortland) We have also invested in marketing
the idea behind projects. We want to be open and honest about
where we are locating cameras.
216. How much have you invested?
(Mr Shortland) We have invested two full-time officers
and a project of £25,000.
217. Do you try to avoid catching some newspaper
(Mr Shortland) No.
218. Why is it that some councils, take Nottinghamshire
for example, feel that this is none of their business and have
not participated in these kind of schemes?
(Mr Shortland) Stewart asked me to answer this one
for him as he is a bit close to it. I think it is purely a political
decision on the part of a small number of Nottinghamshire councillors
who have not looked at the evidence properly.
219. Do you accept that there are frequently
lobbies of motorists objecting to traffic calming measures?
(Mr Shortland) No, I would not. I think most motorists
know why traffic calming measures are introduced and respect that
and most of them want them in their roads as well.
(Mr Radford) In the Safer City Project we had a lot
of criticism from the press and local individuals about traffic
calming, but we had opinion surveys carried out and found that
the silent majority are often very much in favour. Often the residents
in the road that is calmed are in favour of it and those who drive
through them on a regular basis are less enthusiastic.