Speed camera cuts 'will cost lives'

Government cuts which some councils say have forced them to switch off their speed cameras because they cannot afford to operate them will endanger the safety of the public, a police chief has said.

Speaking on BBC Radio Four's Today show, Gwent Police chief constable Mick Giannasi said ministers need to protect the existence of the cameras "for the future of our road safety".

Oxfordshire County Council has announced it will switch off every one of its 72 fixed speed cameras to save cash. Other local authorities are apparently thinking of doing the same.

The Government has just cut £38 million from the 2010 road safety budget and has axed the central cash which pays for speed cameras.

According to The Times newspaper, Mr Giannasi wrote to ministers telling them that the number of people killed in road accidents will increase if councils switch off speed cameras.

Mr Giannasi told the radio programme: "The evidence is that road safety camera partnerships have achieved significant reductions in road casualties over the last decade. There are almost half the number of casualties now that there were eight years ago, and actually there is very clear evidence to show that the public accept them."

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