16 Nov 2011.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

ABD Challenges Speed Camera Revenue Generation
Thames Valley Police are collecting over £1 million per annum by diversion of Speed Awareness Course Fees to finance speed camera operations
Based on a recent FOI Act request by an ABD member, we know that Thames Valley Police are receiving over £1M a year from fees paid by AA Drivetech.

The Government stopped funding Safety Camera Partnerships. They are now dependent on local authorities to provide their funding out of road safety budgets. Offenders allegedly involved in speed-related offences are being offered "Speed Awareness Courses". Some Police forces have now arranged for some of the revenue from fees for "Speed Awareness Courses" (many of which are run by commercial organisations) to be diverted to finance the operations of camera partnerships.

For example, Thames Valley Police (led by Rob Povey, head of roads policing) have arranged to receive money from the payments made for such courses, thus enabling it to reactivate cameras in that county and maintain the operations of the "safety camera partnership". This has been widely reported in the press and Mr Povey even made it clear in a video posted on YouTube by Thames Valley Police.

We question whether this is legal (we have seen no evidence that it is), and we certainly suggest this is ethically dubious. In essence, in return for payments that at least part-fund the operations of speed camera partnerships, alleged offenders are diverted from the justice system.

Note that the ABD has no objection to the offer of speed awareness courses to lesser offenders, but we believe that it should not be associated with payments to the police.

Funding of police speed camera operations in this manner will result in more attention to generating income than to the promotion of road safety.

We urge everyone who has been offered such a course in the Thames Valley area (or anywhere else this arrangement is in operation) to complain to their Member of Parliament about this system.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) received income of £772,097 between January and August 2011 from AA Drivetech — equivalent to over £1 million per annum. It is likely that most of this income relates to fees paid by drivers for speed awareness courses where a proportion of the fees are diverted to TVP.

It is normally the case that if a police officer agrees to drop an offence upon payment of some money to a third party (particularly one connected to them), then it is a criminal offence. A definition of “perversion of the course of justice” from the Police National Legal Database is:

“This common law offence is committed where a person or persons:—
(a) acts or embarks upon a course of conduct
(b) which has a tendency to, and is intended to pervert,
(c) the course of public justice.”

Listed below are a couple of the ways where conduct is capable of amounting to an offence (there are several others):
(a) Concealing offences;
(b) Failing to prosecute;

In the cases we are complaining about, some police officers are surely potentially conspiring with the organisations that run the training courses to divert drivers from the judicial system in return for payments that fund the employment of themselves, other police officers or other support staff. Hence they appear to have a direct financial interest in this matter.

The video posted by Thames Valley Police on YouTube.
Notes for Editors about the ABD
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