If authorities are allowed to collect speeding fines, protesters claim that motorists will be exploited as cash cows.Town halls are attempting to gain authority over 20 and 30 mph zones, claiming that a lack of traffic cops makes roadways hazardous, putting citizens at risk.
London Councils, an organisation that represents the capital's 32 boroughs, has proposed the measures. The highest penalties for council infringements, currently £130, is insufficient, according to the suggestions, and would need to be increased.
‘Residents would rather their municipality focus on emptying the bins on schedule,' said Jack Cousens of the AA to The Sunday Telegraph. Drivers will come to one conclusion: this proposition is more about the money it would bring in than it is about ensuring that criminal laws are enforced fairly.'
The government has been opposed to the concept, claiming that popular support would be limited. According to the proposed ideas, London Councils should be granted the authority to install new speed cameras and operate its own speed awareness courses. In a letter to transport minister Baroness Vere last year, Claire Holland, chair of London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee, outlined the recommendations.
She claimed that the change will allow police to ‘focus on higher policing objectives at a time when the number of police traffic officers is dwindling and resources are scarce.'
Local governments would profit from the retained revenue from fines, which are presently paid to the Treasury through speeding penalties, according to the letter.
However, in response, Baroness Vere stated that the government "could not tolerate a situation where the Police would not be able to enforce particular speed limits."
She expressed concerns that the public would oppose the programme because civil penalties are not subjected to the same scrutiny as criminal fines.
London Councils expects its lobbying effort to take several years and predicts that other councils will follow suit.
‘Speeding is a serious crime, and it should be penalised impartially by officers working in the public good,' said Josie Appleton of the Manifesto Club campaign group.
‘Councils are not set up to fulfil this role, and there are legitimate concerns that speeding, like parking charges, would be seen as a cash cow.'
I think we can all see how this will turn out.