TRADITIONAL speed cameras are seen as “cash cows” and should no longer be funded by Bournemouth council, a controversial report claims.

A council investigation into the costs and benefits of speed cameras has concluded that only red light cameras and mobile speed cameras deserve financial support.

Fixed speed cameras, “time over distance” cameras and van-based cameras that operate at night should not get funding from Bournemouth council, the report claims.

Instead, council money should be used to get more officers with handheld radar guns out on the streets.

Cllr Mark Anderson, who chaired the task and finish group that researched the issue, said: “Let’s have a policeman on the road with a gun like we used to instead of having someone sat in a van watching the screen and saying ‘got you.’

“Police officers with handheld guns can breathalyse drivers, they can stop people they suspect might not have tax or insurance, they can stop someone for tailgating. There are so many benefits.”

The task and finish group is making four recommendations to Bournemouth’s cabinet. These are: · To reduce funding to the Dorset Safety Camera Partnership.

· To remove funding for static cameras, time over distance cameras and van-based cameras that operate at night.

· That an independent person be asked to review accident data.

· That all mobile camera locations are reviewed and the reasons for choosing them made clear to the public.

The report states that cameras are expensive to replace and have the potential to distract drivers.

It adds: “The public are also concerned over the placing of safety cameras and again this feeds the ‘cash cow’ scenario.

“The public don’t understand why safety cameras are placed on straight roads not on dangerous bends or areas of ‘known’ accidents, particularly when they see how difficult it is to get pedestrian crossings and other simpler safety measures.

“Examples of roads quoted to us as ridiculous places for speed cameras are Queen’s Park Avenue, Glenferness Avenue and of course Wessex Way.”

Pat Garrett, of Dorset Safety Camera Partnership, said councils had every right to decide how they spent their money and it would be inappropriate for him to comment on this report.

But on the general issue of cameras, he said: “Looking at them throughout Dorset, when the safety camera partnership came into being in 2002 there were 52 deaths throughout the country. In 2009 there were 26.

“The only major change has been the intervention of safety cameras. However, there are an awful lot of people who work hard to improve road safety and reduce casualties.

“I personally think safety cameras do work, although they are an emotive subject.”

* There are currently 28 fixed camera sites across Dorset, along with 13 red light or speed on green camera sites. The DSCP also operates mobile cameras at a variety of different locations. There are currently no time over distance cameras in the county – the one currently being trialled on Springdale Road, Broadstone is being funded by Siemens.