04 September 2007

The long lens of the law

Gatso road cameras - those that catch motorists exceeding the speed limit and create instant penalty notices served via the mailbox - are called many things, some of which are not repeatable here. "Speed Cameras" has given way to the more politically pointed (and debatable) "Safety Cameras". In Wiltshire, where I found myself driving last week, they go by the less explicable title of "Police Enforcement Cameras", which was a new one to me.

According to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, last year the Wiltshire Constabulary caught 2,386 policemen speeding, via these devices, making one of the highest detection rates of heavy-footed police drivers in the country. They issued fixed penalty notices in just 8 cases. It would seem that police enforcement was just about the last thing such cameras actually do.

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