Sussex speed cameras set to increase

JPCT 130215 S15070023x Speed camera at A24 Dial Post caught three of Sussex's five worst speeders in 2014 -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150213-094206001
JPCT 130215 S15070023x Speed camera at A24 Dial Post caught three of Sussex's five worst speeders in 2014 -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150213-094206001

Speed cameras could be set to multiply in Sussex when a controversial new law comes into force.

For the first time, police chiefs will be given a direct financial interest in trapping as many motorists as possible. The more they catch, the more of the cash from fines they can keep.

Until now, money from speed camera fines - which jumped from £40 to £60 last month - has gone to the Treasury. Many hard-pressed police forces have not even had the cash to keep cameras stocked with film.

But the new rules, expected to come into force in six months, will change all that. The cash flow for police will be calculated on a ‘base-line’ of the number of tickets issued in the 12 months before the change.

A trial of the system in Northamptonshire has already seen the number of speeding tickets soar from 4,000 to 100,000 in a year.

Forces will invest in £120,000 digital cameras which have no film but can store details of 50,000 speeding motorists.

Their records can be downloaded automatically to computers which print out the speeding tickets without the need for any human involvement. The current Gatso cameras have to be unloaded after catching just 400 motorists and need trained staff to analyse pictures and issue tickets.

The news follows reports that a single speed camera in Sussex has caught nearly 8,500 motorists speeding in a year.

The camera on the A22 Eastbourne Road in Halland caught 4,902 drivers in 2011-12, 7,126 in 2012-13 and 8,430 in 2013-14.

The information came to light following an investigation by the BBC.

Figures show fixed speed cameras in Sussex and Kent collected nearly £3.3m from drivers last year - up more than £1m on the past year.