Norfolk speed cameras may be saved

Police chiefs could step in to save Norfolk speed cameras as fears grow that cutbacks would increase deaths and casualties on the county's roads.

Norfolk County Council's cabinet will meet on Monday to make a final decision on the future of the Safety Camera Partnership, after the government cut its road safety grant by 40pc and said funding is likely to stop entirely in coming years.

The authority's environment, transport and development panel has already recommended that the council should scrap speed cameras and projects to educate the public about the dangers of speeding.

The move has been met with opposition from various groups and now Norfolk police is considering stepping in to fill the void. Stephen Bett, chairman of Norfolk Police Authority, said that there were concerns that scrapping the safety camera team entirely would jeopardise safety on the county's roads.

He added it was only one option being considered and no final decision will be made until the government's comprehensive spending review is completed

'It is going to be a huge balancing act,' he said. 'But it is a big worry for the police and for the NHS that, if the cameras go, accidents will increase.

'We're preparing for funding cuts and the inevitable impact that will have on the number of officers on the front line. We won't be getting any more traffic officers any time soon so a solution needs to be found.

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'If we went ahead with the plan, we would be looking at fewer cameras but in better locations. We would be looking at accident blackspots and areas with high volumes of pedestrians, such as schools.' Liz Voysey, a Norfolk campaigner for road safety group Brake, has launched an online petition to the cabinet urging them to keep the cameras operational.

She said: 'Speeding is most definitely a contributory factor in many road crashes and collisions and seriously decreases the chance of survival, as I know only too well when my daughter Amy was killed in 2004.

'With this reduction in funds and any that will undoubtedly follow, Norfolk County Council will be faced with making what will effectively be life and death decisions when allocating the substantially reduced funds to road safety measures and initiatives.'

To sign the Brake petition go to petition/safetycamerasinnorfolk