Police in call for speed cameras to be turned back on

IN ACTION A police mobile speed camera
IN ACTION A police mobile speed camera
Victorious Festival. 
Picture: Paul Jacobs (142476-269)

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POLICE are calling for speed cameras to be switched back on in Portsmouth amid concerns about road safety.

The city’s six cameras were switched off at the start of the month after council leaders axed funding.

Hampshire Constabulary has taken over the running of speed cameras everywhere in the county – but is dependent on councils giving it cash.

Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Southampton councils have all funded their cameras, but Portsmouth hasn’t.

Police say they now want to set up a meeting with the city council to discuss the issue in a bid to change its mind.

But transport boss, Cllr Jason Fazackarley, said the council is unlikely to budge – unless Hampshire Constabulary agrees to enforce the city’s 20mph zones.

Ninety-four per cent of Portsmouth’s roads have the limit, but the police refuse to enforce it.

As a result, the council has begun proceedings to take the force to a judicial review.

Cllr Fazackarley said: ‘We see the 20mph zones, which cover 94 per cent of the city, as a prominent issue.

‘That is what we want the police to enforce. If they won’t I can’t see much room for manoeuvre.’

Hampshire police has taken over from the Safer Roads Partnership which has now been scrapped.

While it could technically fund the Portsmouth cameras itself, it’s a cost the force couldn’t afford to bear.

They would also require permission from the city council which owns the cameras.

Superintendent Chris Brown, who says Hampshire police will now be using mobile camera vans to catch more people breaking the law, said: ‘Portsmouth City Council say at the moment they do not want the cameras in there. We are continuing dialogue with the city council to establish what is going to happen.

‘We would have concerns about road safety.

‘Nationally, figures from the RAC Foundation show the presence of safety cameras, both fixed site and mobile, saves 800 people from being killed or seriously injured on the roads of Britain a year.

‘We can use mobile cameras at the site but it is not the same as the 24-hour deterrent.’

Fixed speed cameras were introduced in Portsmouth in 2002. Since then the number of injuries where they are sited has fallen by 49 per cent on average.