Spy cameras to prevent attacks on speed traps
COVERT surveillance cameras have been set up to watch over speed cameras in an attempt to stop them being attacked in parts of Yorkshire.
Equipment able to pick out culprits even at night has been installed on signs and telegraph poles on West Yorkshire roads where speed cameras have been repeatedly attacked, leaving some on fire, one hit by an attempt to cut through its supporting pole and others knocked down by vehicles.
The small spy cameras are out of reach and not readily identifiable, and linked to police monitoring.
Speed cameras under surveillance have a proximity warning alarm that is silent to the attacker but alerts a rapid response team.
The West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership, responsible for the county's roadside speed cameras, said attacks were not a major issue with most confined to occasional use of spray paint or fireworks.
But cameras on one or two roads have been repeatedly set ablaze, with police believing the assailant lives nearby or uses the route regularly and knows when the camera has been replaced.
Chief Insp Christopher Moorehouse-Everett, who is on the Partnership, said speed cameras were avisible reminder to drivers they were in a fatal "blackspot" and needed to take special care.
He said: "Therefore, repeatedly burning out a camera is much more serious than a simple act of vandalism.
"It could have very serious – even fatal – consequences to local road users. When we catch the perpetrators the charges that will be brought against them will reflect the seriousness of the offence."
The Partnership added that motorists often let it know when cameras were out of commission and that people wanted more cameras where they lived.
But the AA motoring trust said surveillance cameras were indicative of the "bizarre" situation surrounding speed cameras, with the Government and safety camera partnerships failing to get across the message that they were there to make roadssafer rather than to raise money.
The RAC Foundation added that it did not condone vandalism but warned that motorists had "lost faith" in speed cameras as a safety device.
14 March 2006