12/28/2005UK Cops Rack Up $5 Million in Speeding Fines, Pay Just $56,000
Just two percent of UK police end up paying speeding tickets when caught by speed cameras.
Speed cameras snap photographs of vehicles without regard to who is behind the wheel, but new evidence shows that a privileged few in the UK retain the ability to speed with impunity. According to the figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, ninety-eight percent of speeding tickets earned by UK police officers go unpaid. Police-generated citations represent £2,744,460 (US $4,743,978) in citations, but police officers paid only £56,040 (US $96,896) for their offenses. Because nine regional police forces refused to provide data, the true number of unpaid tickets is even greater.
Each cop in Essex, for example, received an average of 3.26 speeding tickets a year, but none of the officers were ever disciplined for breaking the law. Officers on duty with London's Metropolitan Police received 25,486 tickets in 2004, only 0.06 percent of which were paid. This year, the force is on track to generate 40,674 speeding tickets.
Each police force declares an "emergency situation" to absolve officers from the individual responsibility of paying the fine other citizens have no means of avoiding.
"The Police have become their own worst enemy," said Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign. "They are going from PR disaster to PR disaster mainly because of the absurd way they enforce the speeding law against responsible citizens. When will the madness end?"