Speed cameras in Bedford 'not always monitored' says councillor

But Beds Police say the cameras automatically detect speeding

By John Guinn, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 28th January 2022, 5:08 pm
Updated Friday, 28th January 2022, 5:31 pm

Bedfordshire police doesn't have the resources to fully support speed limit changes and average speed cameras, a meeting was told.

And one councillor said she was told that speed cameras were not monitored all the time.

But Bedfordshire Police say average speed cameras are always activated and automatically detect speeding offences.

Speed camera

Matthew D'Archambaud, chief officer for highways, transport and engineering, told the Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee last night (Thursday, January 27) that enforcing speed limits was "solely the preserve of the police."

He added: "Whilst we do our bits and pieces with lobbying for speed limit changes or putting things in like average speed cameras, it really comes down to the police to support those."

But Councillor Sarah Gallagher (Conservative, Eastcotts Ward) said she was told that the average speed cameras were not monitored all of the time.

"They pick a day out of the month and then 'do' whoever has been done on that particular day," she said.

Mr D'Archambaud said: "All of the cameras aren't enforced all of the time, the police have a finite amount of resource to be able to enforce our network of average speed cameras.

"But the information that's sent around on a monthly basis, or on a periodic basis, outlines exactly what cameras have been enforced for that period."

Councillor Jonathan Abbott (LibDems, Oakley Ward) said: "As we install more average speed cameras across the borough, my understanding is, and it's been raised by some of my parish councils with the police, that they won't actually put any more time into enforcing the average speed cameras.

"So we have to rely on people hoping the cameras are enforced or not.

"It's a real pain because we don't get any funding coming back to us from revenue from the cameras to pay for this, it would be good if the money at least came back to the police.

"But we have a problem, people want speed dealt with and we don't get the funding to deal with it," he said.

Mr D'Archambaud said: "I've sat in meetings with the portfolio holder and the mayor and we've made representations to the police to say is there a mechanism for us as an authority to fund a resource to man or to resource a bigger section of our cameras, and have been told that simply isn't the case, we can't do that.

"It's a rather sort of strange situation where we're all really keen and we see the success that these average speed cameras have.

"We did have a conversation with the police about this, and to play devil's advocate, they have a finite amount of resource to manage ourselves, Luton, Central Bedfordshire, and obviously the trunk road network, so I can understand it.

"But, as you say, it seems quite counter-intuitive that this equipment's so successful but the more we put in we could potentially see less resource or could see it being enforced even less.

"But it's certainly a conversation that we're having with the police on a regular basis to be fair," he said.

In a statement, sergeant John Killick, from the North Bedfordshire Rural Community Policing team, said: "We understand how important road safety is to residents, including both parking issues and speeding, and we work closely with the council to tackle such issues.

"Our average speed cameras are always activated and automatically detect speeding offences. We would encourage residents to report dangerous or anti-social driving to us to enable us to take action and focus on specific areas of concern, people can also get involved by joining their local Speedwatch group."