BUDGET cuts imposed on Kent Police mean the force is operating only one in four speed cameras across the county, it has emerged.
Data released by 36 forces nationally, under a Freedom of Information request (FOI), found that of 2,838 UK cameras just 1,486 or 52 per cent are operational.
In Kent this figure is even lower with only 19 of the 77 cameras in action. There are six cameras around Tunbridge Wells and one in Tonbridge.
It is not known which cameras are ‘live’ or if these are rotated. Money gained in fines from speed cameras goes to the treasury.
A Kent Police spokesman said: “It is all about resources and making the most of what we have got.
“All of our camera locations may be operational at any time and it is the responsibility of all drivers to ensure they always adhere to speed limits.”
Mobile speed camera units continue to operate across the county.
Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark said yesterday [Tuesday]: “Fixed road safety cameras are an important deterrent to speeding drivers. Having gone to the expense of installing them, they should be used or moved to a place where they can deter dangerous drivers.
“I have raised this with the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott and look forward to his response.”
Since 2010 nationally the police have seen a real-terms budget cut of 18 percent with a decline of nearly 19,000 officers, according to Home Office data. In Kent there are today 500 fewer officers than in 2010.
Nick Lloyd, road safety manager for Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), said he was not surprised by the figures.
“The purpose is to slow motorists down and it should reduce the number of serious and fatal crashes, I am not concerned about whether or not they are active.
“What is more important is how they are performing, rather than to get too hung up on the number of cameras – it is about how effective they are.”
“I think the cat is out of the bag now,” he said about the release of figures, adding that the shared knowledge might lead to some drivers taking a chance.
A spokesman for Kent Police said: “Cameras are placed by local authorities specifically with the intention of reducing the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.
“They provide a proven deterrence to drivers exceeding the speed limit but are just one of a number of ways police to try to keep road users safe.
“Officers regularly patrol roads across the county and take proportionate action to deal with drivers exceeding the speed limit.”