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Suffolk speed camera funding blow

PUBLISHED: 09:34 12 January 2011

THE county council is to withdraw from the Suffolk Safecam Partnership in a bid to save £1.2 million, its cabinet has confirmed.

However the date for the final withdrawal has been put back three months to give Suffolk Police more time to try to set up its own funding for speed cameras.

The county will not pay any more towards them after April 1.

Presenting the paper to the cabinet meeting, councillor with responsibility for transport Guy McGregor said the safety cameras had had a very positive impact on the county since they were introduced in 2003.

He said: “Anyone who, like me, uses the A140 regularly knows how they transformed safety on that road – and they had a great effect on the Haughley Bends before they were by-passed a couple of years ago.”

However the cost of supporting the SafeCam partnership was £1.2 million and there was no longer any government support for the scheme.

Labour group leader Sandy Martin thought he detected regret in Mr McGregor’s voice – and said the decision to withdraw from the partnership was very sad.

He said: “There are people who are alive today, or who are fit and have avoided serious injury, because this council set up the SafetyCam Partnership with the police.

“It started because the police were unable to commit themselves to this kind of work on their own and I do worry about the future.”

The police are hoping to get extra funding for safety cameras from the fees paid by those who take safe driving courses after being caught speeding.

But before there is a substantial increase in the number of people taking these courses – which would be necessary for the funding to come through – there needs to be a national decision to increase the “band” of speeding offences for which these courses are offered as an alternative to court action.

Suffolk police have still to make a decision about the cameras.

A spokesman said: “Suffolk Constabulary is working with Suffolk County Council to determine whether the SafeCam structure can be sustained following the withdrawal of the council from the partnership.

“Irrespective of the eventual outcome our roads policing officers have the use of mobile handheld speed guns as a tool against speeding motorists and, as with every year, a reduction in speeding will remain one of our main priorities.”

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