Cameras focus on top-down control

Speed camera in Wood Street, St Annes.

Speed camera in Wood Street, St Annes.

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WE’RE hearing grumbles again today over safety cameras.

There is the usual complaint that they are there just to make money.

But this time the argument is backed up by the view that cameras do not actually prevent accidents but may cause them.

That is the only conclusion some can be reached by studying the statistics which have been made public by a few councils up and down the country.

For instance, there had been no accidents or injuries along a stretch of the A329 in Oxfordshire for five years – until a safety camera was installed.

In the following five years, there were five collisions and 10 casualties!

Nice safety work, chaps.

It wasn’t a one-off.

Over in Cambridgeshire, a camera was installed on the A1134 in 1997. Up to that point there had been five minor casualties.

Last year, as 1,027 drivers were caught breaking the 30mph speed limit, police reported on seven injuries, two of them serious.

Likewise Humberside!

Figures from 89 cameras in the county reveal that in 19 cases pedestrian casualties are up since their introduction.

And, after asking the question and the statistics being made available here, we found the same situation at a few spots in South Yorkshire.

There ought to be a bit more research into this.

I can’t see how cameras actually cause accidents, but the figures aren’t made up.

And they are worrying. Something’s going on.

These anomalies came to light when the local councils involved published the full data on cameras.

This is not a normal action for councils.

But now the Government is urging all councils to follow suit.

They say that motorists have a right to know whether local safety cameras are justified.

I agree.

And it is good to see that South Yorkshire’s Safety Camera Partnership responded very quickly and openly to our request for similar statistics on cameras.

But they do make me wonder whether the cameras are used on roads which have incontrovertibly bad records concerning accidents?

And has that record improved since their installation?

Mind you there is a more difficult question about cameras to be worked out.

Many people reckon they are just money-making enterprises, fill the treasury with a hidden tax on drivers.

There is some merit to this argument. But I think it is only part of the picture.

The bigger picture has a far more wide-reaching scope.

For from my vantage point on Planet Paul, I spy a whole sub-culture which feeds off not only cameras but the whole oppressive society we have nurtured.

Our top-down way of controlling people not only keeps we minions in check. It keeps the checkers in style.

Throughout the land there are powerful and well placed stakeholders who do not want to see a change in direction.

That goes equally for the way we maintain the pecking order across the country as for how we present selective statistical support for safety cameras. They don’t want to see change.

Too much of their lifestyle (from pensions to perks) depends on its preservation.

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