10/29/2006UK: Speed Camera Money Buys Plasma TVs
A substantial amount of UK photo enforcement revenue is being used on spin and luxury items for camera operators.
Revenue from UK speed and red light cameras is increasingly being used to fund efforts to make the unpopular devices more acceptable. Last year, for example, the Avon, Somerset and Gloucestershire speed camera partnership spent £326,400 (US $620,000) on public relations efforts. The publicity bill for Hampshire & Isle of Wight amounted to £86,524 (US$ 164,101), in addition the costs of a newly hired, full-time public relations specialist. Warwickshire's spin tab ran to £116,693 (US $221,319).
Other uses for the ticket funds include luxury items. Partnership workers in Essex are enjoying a new plasma television that cost £7,495 (US $14,215). Derbyshire spent £250 (US $475) on t-shirts for staff and £15,000 (US $29,500) for other promotional items.
"Motorists and the general public have a right to ask, 'Why do the partnerships need publicity officers, plasma screens and T-shirts?'" Shadow Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said after he uncovered the figures in parliament. "My concern is that the increasing emphasis on speed cameras under this Government means that there aren't enough real traffic police to drive rogue drivers -- who are often the ones involved in the worst accidents -- off our roads."