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4/13/2005
UK: Increased Camera Use Has Decreased Police Presence
Fewer traffic police are on the roads since the rise of automated enforcement.

Lothian traffic cop
The number of traffic police patrolling British roads has been on a steady decline since automated enforcement was introduced in the country. In 1966, twenty percent of the police force was dedicated to making the roads safer. That figure is seven percent today. Some UK police forces now have fewer than 30 officers dedicated to traffic duty.

UK speed camera usage is advancing again as the devices are employed for the first time on a high-speed freeway. Camera enforcement begins today on one of the busiest roads, the M4, between junctions 14 and 18. It is the first 70 MPH speed limit road to use the devices. Drivers with foreign plates continue to avoid camera fines and parking tickets. Auto Express magazine registered a Renault 5 in France and racked up £880 worth of UK tickets, but two months later it had received no notice in the mail.

Key Statistic:
According to the federation, the proportion of officers dedicated to traffic duty has fallen from up to 20 per cent of constables in 1966 to seven per cent today.

Article Excerpt:
"Cameras are a pretty blunt instrument," said Jeff Birch, the assistant secretary of the federation's North Wales branch. "The British public prefers the bobby who has an element of discretion."
Source: Increased use of speed cameras 'endangers lives' (London Telegraph (UK), 4/13/2005)

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