TWO in three speed cameras in Dorset are not switched on, figures have revealed.

And campaigners say pressure on budgets is causing the high number of inactive cameras.

In a response to a Freedom of Information request, Dorset Police said there are 65 fixed speed cameras in the county, but just 35 per cent – or 23 – are active.

The figures do not cover mobile speed camera devices used by the force.

Road safety charity Brake has described the figures as concerning and called for all cameras to be switched on.

A spokeswoman for the National Police Chiefs' Council said the decision to use cameras was "an operational matter", adding that "all forces have individual responsibility for their use of speed cameras".

AA president Edmund King said: "Many of the empty yellow cases are due to cuts in road safety grants and the fact that digital cameras, although more effective, are very expensive.

"It is also reflective of the fact that proceeds from cameras are no longer allowed to be ring-fenced to be reinvested into yet more cameras as now all the money goes to the Treasury."

He warned motorists against gambling on a camera being inactive.

He said: "Drivers who play Russian roulette with fixed-site speed cameras are playing a dangerous game. Our advice is stick to the limits rather than gambling on the yellow boxes."

But Claire Armstrong, co-founder of lobby group Safe Speed, which campaigns for more traffic police officers rather than speed cameras, said the investigation "proves police forces don't believe in cameras".

She said: "Forces are conning the public into thinking cameras are there for road safety because, if they really thought that, every single one of them would be on.

"They are a flawed road safety policy and the only way to truly improve that is with more traffic police officers on the roads."

Dorset Police’s Road Safety Operations Manager Brian Austin said: “Dorset Police has 23 cameras to go into 65 sites across the county.

“The cameras are located at specific sites according to priorities determined in conjunction with our local authority partners.

“We rotate the cameras regularly so the public do not know which sites are actually in use and therefore they still serve as an effective deterrent, this is why we do not publish the actual location of the cameras but just where the 65 sites are.

“In addition to our cameras we also deploy our four safety camera vans on a regular basis, this can be in a position close to fixed camera sites without a camera currently in them if we consider it necessary due to increased risks of a collision or other factors.”