Police chief's speed camera shake up prompts privatisation fears

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Private companies could be given the responsibility for handing out speeding fines after an influential police body suggested the work should be "outsourced".

Mick Giannasi, the head of roads policing at the Association of Chief Police Officers, recommended that the issuing of tickets and the collection of fines should be privatised to remove the burden from the police forces and magistrates' courts who currently administer the penalty system.

However, with local authorities removing their financial backing from safety camera partnerships, there is a fear that such a move could lead to the privatisation of Britain's entire speed camera network in an effort to keep it operational.

Giannasi, the chief constable of Gwent, has already written to the road safety minister to voice his concern over the results of the Department for Transport's cuts in funding, but some rank and file police officers are uneasy at the idea of private firms managing speeding fines.

Alan Jones, lead roads policing officer at the Police Federation, is quoted in the Metro as saying: 'I understand the fear and costly consequences of a shift towards the privatisation of speed camera enforcement.'

'This would be totally unacceptable, particularly in relation to effectiveness, public perception, consistency and standards,' he added. 'I also have concerns over data management and information sharing.

'We cannot afford the consequences of the private sector managing speed camera enforcement.'

Nevertheless, a spokeswoman for the Department for Transport refused to rule out the possibility of outsourcing in the future.
'If private companies are brought in, it would need to be within the rules of camera law enforcement,' she said.