Speed cameras on the M1 motorway through Bedfordshire could be switched on in a bid to raise much-needed funds for the local police force, a police and crime commissioner has said.
Olly Martins told the Home Affairs Select Committee that Bedfordshire Police was “stretched to the limit” and was looking at new ways to raise money.
Martins said that it was within his power to permanently switch on speed cameras between junctions 10 and 13 of the M1 to fund more officers.
Currently the cameras are only activated when a variable speed limit is in place – usually triggered by an incident on the motorway ahead or congestion.
Martins told the Select Committee: “Strict enforcement of the speed limit could raise £1m and to me that’s better than losing 25 more police officers.”
Although most of the money raised through speeding fines go to the Government, a proportion goes to the local police.
But the RAC has hit out at Martins’ suggestion to use M1 speed cameras to raise money.
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “For many years RAC research has shown that a majority of motorists regard speed cameras primarily as revenue generators for the police. And it appears that the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner harbours this view too, or at least he is using this as an opportunity to make a very serious point about resourcing.
“Motorists tell us that they would like to see better enforcement and more roads police officers, but enforcement needs to be prioritised in terms of road safety benefits and not in terms of the value of the revenues generated.”
The police and crime commissioner also said he was looking into ways sponsorship could bring in extra income to the force.
Local companies such as easyJet could pay to have their logo featured on police cars and uniforms. When asked whether he’d welcome the move, Collins said: “I’d welcome it because that’s an alternative to reducing our police numbers below a level that I think is already putting our force in a position of not being viable.”
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