A proposal by Bedfordshire Police to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on speeding motorists has been revealed as a cynical ploy to make money. The commissioner of the Midlands county’s force says the policy could be worth up to £1 million a year and this could pay for 25 officers.
Commissioner Olly Martins said he had proposed the scheme to save his cash-strapped force from having to make 25 officers redundant. He told media sources that presented with a choice of cracking down on speeding drivers or keeping 25 officers he would go for the latter every time.
The commissioner says he hopes the new guidelines will be effective from April 2016. The M1 motorway runs right through the middle of the county. Usually speed cameras are only switched on at certain times. Drivers are also given some flexibility with speeds as high as 79mph the accepted maximum.
If Commissioner Martins’ proposals are enforced, speed cameras will operate 24/7 and 71mph on the M1 will automatically become a punishable offence. Offenders have two choices if they are caught speeding.
The first one is to take the penalty points and pay a £100 fine. The second option for some drivers is to pay the £90 cost of a speed awareness course. If drivers qualify for and take the courses they do not get the penalty points.
The income from £100 fixed penalty fines goes to the government, but fees for the courses go to the county constabularies. Motoring groups such as the Association of British Drivers are up in arms about the proposals and say if other forces see Bedfordshire is making money they will introduce similar policies.