Safety Camera Partnership
A Safety Camera Partnership (also Casualty Reduction Partnership, Safer Roads Partnership) is a local multi-agency partnership between British Local Government, police authorities, HMCS, Highways Agency and the National Health Service within the United Kingdom. Their aim is to enforce speed limits and red traffic lights by the use of cameras.
Initially established in 1999 as part of The National Safety Camera Scheme to enforce speed limits in the United Kingdom. Until April 2007, the partnerships were funded from fines generated from the use of traffic enforcement cameras in each area. Since that time they have received Road Safety Grants.
Aims and objectives
Their stated objectives were to reduce deaths and serious injury by reducing the level and severity of speeding and red-light running. The aim was to do this by deterring, detecting and enforcement of speed and red light offences using but not limited to camera technology and driver education programmes. Some also included the use of road safety engineering as a method of contributing to the aim.
The programme was started as part of the UK government's Road Safety Strategy that set targets of:
- 40% reduction in deaths and serious injuries by 2010 (compared to the average of 1994-8)
- 50% reduction in deaths and serious injuries of children.
The reported casualty statistics 2009 showed that the targets had been achieved although the accuracy of the figures are disputed and the role that SCPs played is controversial. The 2009 figures for deaths and serious injuries were 44% lower than the 1994-8 average and deaths and serious injuries of children down by 61% on the 1994-8 average. A similar level of 10-year casualty reduction had been consistently achieved over each of the previous sixteen years, with a previous high of 43% in 1993 and the lowest recent figure being 38% in 2006. What hasn't been established though is what part, if any, the partnerships played in achieving those goals, and whether the strong downward trend in casualty numbers present before the partnerships were introduced would have otherwise continued resulting in those goals being realised much sooner.
Speed cameras are used to detect and record speed limit contraventions (speeding), and red light cameras are used to record and detect traffic light offences. In an analysis of data recorded in the police STATS19 system, "exceeding speed limit" (the only accident contributory factor which speed cameras target) is recorded as one of the contributory factors in 5% of all road accidents and 12% of fatal accidents. The factor "disobeyed traffic signal" (the factor which red-light cameras target) is recorded as a factor in 2% of all road accidents. The two factors targeted by the SCPs are both in the "Injudicious Action" category of the referenced report. In total, all the factors from that category (which also includes: "Disobeyed Give Way or Stop sign", "Disobeyed double white lines", "Disobeyed pedestrian crossing", "Illegal turn/direction", "Going too fast for conditions", "Following too close", "Vehicle travelling along pavement", and "Cyclist entering road from pavement") are listed as contributory factors in 32% of fatal accidents and 28% of all accidents.
The income from camera fines is initially passed to the Department for Constitutional Affairs (formerly the Lord Chancellor's Department), who pass it on to the DfT. The Safety Camera Partnerships originally reclaimed money from the DfT which they then spent on the operating costs of the cameras, additional safety measures such as "speed awareness" courses, public relations, and staff expenses.
Since April 2007 the funding for Safety Camera partnerships has been significantly altered; all funding is now passed to Local Authorities/County Councils in the form of an enhanced road safety grant. Safety Camera Partnerships must bid annually for funding to council budget holders along with other local authority funded organisation for carry out their operations; the funding, while a road safety grant can be used for any local authority expense that is not connected to road safety, ring-fencing of local authority funds not being allowed.
As a result of this funding change the cost of running the SCP's fell onto local Councils. The drive to save costs due to the recession led in 2010 and 2011 to many Councils reviewing their spending in this area.
From the ASA
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints against:
- The West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership for their claim that "where you see one of these" (a speed camera) "there have been four of these" (a gravestone). It was found that the claim was misleading, since the "four coffin rule" on fixed camera sites did not apply retrospectively to existing sites, and there were circumstances where local communities could request the installation of cameras at sites where there had been fewer than four KSI collisions.
- The London Safety Camera Partnership for a newspaper insert which stated that "Speeding causes over a quarter of all deaths on London's roads". It was judged to be misleading on the grounds that none of the factors identified by the advertisers necessarily involved a vehicle exceeding the speed limit and that the claim would be understood by readers to mean that vehicles that exceeded the speed limit had caused a quarter of all deaths on London's roads and not that speed was merely a contributory factor in a quarter of fatal accidents.
- The Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership that 'the inclusion of the websites "www.safespeed.org.uk", "www.abd.org.uk" and "www.pepipoo.com", under the general heading "TRICK DEALERS", was denigratory' and that claims about the costs to the NHS of high speed collisions breached their "substantiation" and "truthfulness" code clauses.
- in 2003 Northumbria Police's then Acting Chief Inspector of motor patrols is reported to have said "Speed cameras don't reduce casualties - they are just for revenue generation", he also said "They don't engage and they aren't going to send you a message in the post telling you were driving badly".
- In 2004 the then Chief Constable of Durham Police, Paul Garvin, is reported to have said "The pro-camera lobby, and a lot of the safety partnerships, deliberately misquote the statistics to try and mislead people to try and justify their position", and "I think it is disingenuous if we are really intent on reducing casualties on the road - as opposed to enforcing speed limits and dishing out lots of tickets." Since Mr. Garvin's departure Durham Police Authority have accepted road safety funding distributed from the Department for Transport and continue to operate the van to enforce speed in the county.
- In 2005 a press release the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) claim the damaging effect on relations between the driver and the police caused by a "plague" of speed cameras, coupled with the "robotic issue of tough penalties" has continued to damage road safety. However, in a 2010 press release the IAM's stance had changed, "Fixed speed cameras have been, and should remain, an important component in the road safety tool kit for local Councils." 
- In 2006 an undercover reporter for The Mail on Sunday suggested that the Government's actual objectives for the partnerships may be to generate substantial revenues for the treasury, with little regard for the effects on road safety.
The safety camera programme was announced with a press release in December 1999. Eight trial areas were announced which would begin a roll-out of a number of Safety Cameras. These areas were Cleveland, Essex, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham, South Wales, Strathclyde and Thames Valley.
The announcement was in part the result of a report commissioned by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) to look at the differing effects of various strategies related to the deployment of speed cameras. The main finding of the report was that camera deployment can reduce drivers' speeds markedly and that cameras on the survey roads were perceived to be reasonably effective.
The eight initial implementations began on 1 April 2000. The cameras were mainly to be placed in locations where there had been a significant number of casualties as a result of road accidents. One novelty in the partnerships was that the revenue raised by the cameras would be ring-fenced for investment back into the running and maintenance of the original cameras and investment in more cameras. In part this was a response to allegations that such cameras were being placed for revenue generation and not for safety reasons. From the start the partnerships were controversial with strong opinions both for and against the cameras. In December 2001 new regulations enforced a code of visibility for the cameras in order that they were always clearly seen by motorists. As of April 2006 there were thirty eight Safety Camera Partnerships in England and Wales covering forty-one police force areas out of a total of forty-three. (Durham and North Yorkshire are the exceptions). Similar arrangements exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
As the cameras became more widespread the issue became more contentious politically. In particular motoring bodies began to question the effectiveness of speed cameras as a means for accident prevention. This created a demand for research showing whether or not the cameras were, in practice, effective at reducing deaths and injuries from road accidents. Four independent evaluation reports were commissioned by the DfT to address this.
Since April 2007 however, an annual specific (although not ring fenced) 'Road Safety Grant' which was no longer related to the number of fines issued locally was given directly to the Local Authorities with a responsibility for road safety who were free to choose whether or not to re-invest this in their partnership.
During 2007 a total of 1.26 million fixed penalties were issued, which was down 23% from the previous year.
- "Safety Camera Partnerships". Highways Agency.
- "Handbook of Rules and Guidance for the National Safety Camera Programme for England and Wales for 2005/2006" (PDF). Department for Transport (UK). Retrieved March 2, 2006.[dead link]
- "Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2009: Annual Report". Retrieved 2010-10-11. "Compared with the 1994-98 average, in 2009: The number killed was 38 per cent lower; The number of reported killed or seriously injured casualties was 44 per cent lower; The number of children killed or seriously injured was 61 per cent lower; and The slight casualty rate was 37 per cent lower. In contrast traffic rose by an estimated 15 per cent over this period."
- Transport Statistics Great Britain: 2007 Edition (Report). Department for Transport.
- David Robinson, Richard Campbell. "Contributory factors to road accidents" (PDF). Road Casualties Great Britain: 2005. UK Department for Transport.
- "Non-broadcast Adjudication". ASA. 2005. Retrieved March 20, 2006.
- "Non-broadcast Adjudication". ASA. 2004. Retrieved March 20, 2006.
- "Non-broadcast Adjudication". ASA. 2006. Retrieved August 14, 2006.
- "Cameras are for cash". The Journal. 2003-10-25. Retrieved 2006-03-21.
- Mckay, Neil (2004-06-16). "Police chief's attack". The Journal. Retrieved 2006-03-21.
- "SPEED CAMERA "PLAGUE" STILL ERODING DRIVER CONFIDENCE, SAYS IAM CHIEF" (PDF) (Press release). IAM. 2005-12-07.
- Neil Greig (2010-06-17). "IAM comment on council funding of fixed speed cameras" (Press release). Institute of Advanced Motorists.
- Dennis Rice, Wayne Francis (2006-10-15). "Undercover probe reveals the 'buckets of money' made from speed cameras". The Mail on Sunday.
- "Press Release: Speed Camera Funding - eight pilot schemes announced". Department for Transport (UK). Retrieved August 29, 2007.
- "The effects of speed cameras: how drivers respond". Department for Transport (UK). February 1999. Retrieved April 13, 2006.
- "Areas covered by the Safety Camera Funding Scheme". Department for Transport (UK). Retrieved April 13, 2006.
- "The National Safety Camera Programme - Evaluation reports". Department for Transport (UK). Retrieved April 13, 2006.[dead link]
- "Safety cameras". Department for Transport (UK). Retrieved March 26, 2007.
- "Speed camera penalties fall by record amount as police lose right to keep fines". The Telegraph. 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2010-10-08. "In 2007, 1.26 million fixed penalties were issued, down 370,000 or 23 per cent, from the previous year, according to figures in a Home Office document. Until April 2007 police and local authorities kept a proportional share of fines in order to pay for more cameras. Since this period however, they have received a fixed amount in order to pay for all aspects of road safety."