POLICE with speed guns are now collecting £1000 a day in speeding fines from Lothian motorists after the number caught doubled in nine months.
New figures show drivers were fined £252,000 between last April and December in Lothian and Borders as Police Scotland stepped up the use of speed gun tactics. That figure compares to a full-year total of £120,000 amassed between April 2012 and March last year.
Police are keen to stress that they do not receive any income from fines as it is collected by the Scottish Courts Service, but critics have still branded the rise as “more about generating income than keeping the roads safe”.
The Institute of Advanced Motoring said the “true test” of traffic offence enforcement would be a drop in road deaths and accidents.
Edinburgh-based public policy strategy group Thinktastic, which obtained the figures, said the results supported the view that mobile cameras were principally a “revenue raising exercise”.
Mike Stevenson, its managing director, said: “There is already a great deal of cynicism in Edinburgh brought about by failed traffic management efforts, higher parking charges and, of course, the trams.
“Now, when people see that revenue from non-fixed speeding cameras is getting ever higher because the police seem to be targeting low-hanging fruit rather than accident hotspots.”
Fixed speed cameras fines fell in the area, down from £483,000 in 2012-13 to £356,000 for the nine months, as drivers become more familiar with their locations.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the institute, said: “The speed guns figures aren’t surprising as Police Scotland have prioritised enforcement.
“The true test of this strategy will be whether it leads to reduced road deaths and injuries.”
Scottish Tory transport spokesman Alex Johnstone MSP said the figures were simply more evidence of “the anti-motorist agenda”.
But assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson, from Police Scotland, said: “We do not receive revenue from speeding fines. We are absolutely committed to reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads. To achieve this we are working hard too influence the tasking and deployment of the road safety camera partnership vehicles.”
LOTTERY AWARD FOR MOTORISTS
THINKTASTIC wants the city to adopt the Swedish system, where drivers are entered into a speed camera lottery.
Motorists sticking to the limit have their registration number entered into a prize draw while speeders’ fines go to community projects.
Thinktastic’s Mike Stevenson said: “I would love Edinburgh to take a lead in a bold new approach that rewards and incentivises rather than penalises.”