FENLAND: Chief Constable speaks out over the benefits of safety cameras on our roads

JULIE Spence, Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police has spoken out in her latest podcast about the benefits of speed cameras. The message from Cambridgeshire s top police officer is a verbal message recorded and posted on the police s website for peopl

JULIE Spence, Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police has spoken out in her latest podcast about the benefits of speed cameras.

The message from Cambridgeshire's top police officer is a verbal message recorded and posted on the police's website for people to download to straight to their MP3 player.

It is one of the police's latest methods of communicating with the public - particularly younger people.

In the message she spoke of the benefits of "safety" cameras and how they can save lives.

She said: "Most people call them speed cameras. We call them safety cameras.

"No other device used to try to reduce death and injury on our roads has proved so controversial.

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"Whatever the facts about lives saved and injuries prevented, there will always be a vociferous anti-camera lobby which argues that speed does not kill and that cameras are simply a fiendish way to collect taxes from road-users.

"They are of, of course, free to express their views. I happen to think they are wrong, and I'm sure many share my opinion.

"I say that because a number of people regularly ask the force whether cameras can be operated in communities where residents worry about drivers recklessly ignoring speed limits.

"Policy dictates that mobile safety camera units (vans to you and me) operate only in those areas known as road collision and fatality hotspots.

"Clearly, it makes sense to operate the cameras where the problem is worst.

"But the force has now moved to try to find out exactly what the demand is for the cameras to be used elsewhere, and to help with that we have launched a survey on our website.

"Not everyone in your community may welcome the thought of their road behaviour being monitored, some may even oppose it. But if you have concerns please log on and take part in our survey.

"Whatever the outcome, you will at least be helping us come to a decision, and having your say about safety.

You may have seen that last month we introduced an appointments system for victims of non-serious crime and other incidents.

"A commonsense move, you may think, and one that we should perhaps have made years ago. You're probably right.

"The fact is, however, that it is now in place and all the signs are that it is working well.

"And in case you were wondering, it's not the addition of yet another layer of bureaucracy to keep you from speaking to the people you want, but one more move under the umbrella of the Policing Pledge to tailor our service to suit your needs.

"Those of you who have the misfortune to be a victim of low-level crime, or simply want to pass on some information about a worrying incident, can now make an appointment to speak to an officer at your convenience.

"In a nutshell it means you don't have to wait around all day for an officer to call, and those officers without appointments to keep are free to concentrate on 999 calls and other urgent matters.

"But never forget - if your need is urgent, call 999.

"I hope that you have found another of our website innovations helpful.

'Crime mapping was introduced at the start of the year, and is designed, at a click or two of the mouse, to home in on your street and show you what the crime rate is.

"Like most of the new ways of making policing more relevant to you, I know that it has been widely welcomed, not just in Cambridgeshire but in other force areas across the country.

"And while there is still room for it to be improved, it is a good solid start on providing facts which help you to form opinions about where you live, rather than relying on anecdotal evidence.

"As with so many other schemes which rely on the technology and the skills of those who introduce it, we are always anxious to hear just how beneficial it is, and what we can do to improve it.

"We don't have all the answers, so don't hesitate to let us know again. I make no apology for touching on the subject of seat belt wearing.

"On February 16 the force will begin another week-long campaign directed at those who refuse to see the sense of buckling up

"If there are ever any doubts about the value of safety cameras in saving lives, there surely can be none about seat-belts.

Countless lives have been saved and injuries prevented by their introduction, and it is believed that lives are valuable enough to make failure to wear a belt punishable by law.

Don't be a mug. We don't want to see you in court, or dead and badly injured in the wreckage of your vehicle."

To hear download the podcast visit www.cambs.police.co.uk