March 05, 2004

Keeping it Quiet

The Government have always claimed that speed camera are situated in locations with at least four deaths or serious injuries, or eight injuries of any severity, in the previous three years. The casualties must have happened within one kilometre of the camera site. This is how they have justified the proliferation of these nerfarious devices. Those were the rules promulgated by the Department of Transporations in 2002 in their guideline handbook.

What the Government hasn't heretofore mentioned is that they quietly changed the rules in October of last year. They now allow 15% of the cameras to be placed at sites that do not meet the guidelines. “Tolerance is included for partnerships to enforce at sites that do not meet the criteria set out in this handbook.”

The DoT quietly slipped the handbook into the library of the House of Commons, thus officially putting MP on notice. They never actually announced, either to the press or the floor of the House (protocol indicating the latter, the practices of this Government usually preferring the former) that the rules had changed. Thus, when people wrote to their MPs complaining about the ubiquitous cameras, they were confidently reassured that the very restrictive guidelines made sure it was all a matter of public safety.

How did this come to light? The Government announced yesterday that all of the 5000 camera complied with its guidelines. It couldn't have been more obvious that this was a completely absurd claim. As it turned out it wasn't the claim that was unbelievable - it was once again the Government.

Posted by david at March 5, 2004 10:33 PM | TrackBack