Only around half of the UK’s fixed speed cameras are actually switched on and catching people, new figures suggest.
Figures obtained by the Press Association from 36 of the 45 police forces in the UK found that four have no fixed speed cameras at all and 13 have fewer than half actively catching speeding drivers.
A Freedom of Information Request asking all 45 forces and their speed camera partnerships how many fixed speed cameras they have and how many are active received responses with data from 36, showing that out of a total 2,838 cameras, only 1,486 (52%) were active.
Nine refused to disclose the information or failed to respond.
The figures cover all police fixed speed cameras, but not the mobile devices forces also use.
All forces and speed camera partnerships that responded said they deployed regular mobile speed cameras across their areas and regularly review which fixed devices are turned on.
Road safety charity Brake described the figures as concerning and called for all cameras to be switched on.
And AA president Edmund King said the high number of inactive cameras was down to budget pressures but warned motorists not to gamble on cameras being switched off.
Cleveland, Durham, North Yorkshire and Northamptonshire forces said none of their fixed speed cameras were active, while City of London, the Metropolitan Police/Transport for London, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk and Northern Ireland said all their fixed cameras were active.
Staffordshire Police has 272 fixed cameras across its patch, but just 14 are active, while Derbyshire operates 112 cameras with just 10 catching speeders.
The forces with a quarter or less of their cameras switched on are West Yorkshire (25%), Kent (25%), South Yorkshire (24%), Greater Manchester (24%) and Cheshire (17%).
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”.
Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for road safety charity Brake, said: “A staggering 1,800 people lost their lives on British roads last year and speeding is a factor in thousands of crashes.
“Speed cameras are a proven, cost-effective way of reducing deadly collisions and so it’s critical they are operational.
“We are concerned to see figures which suggest so many are switched off and would urge they are urgently put back into action.”
Mr 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 added: “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.”
Neil Greig, spokesman for charity IAM RoadSmart, which campaigns to make roads safer by improving driver and rider skills, said it believed all speed cameras should be active.
He said: “Drivers should be in no doubt that every yellow box they pass is active and police forces and safety camera partnerships should all be aiming for their cameras to be vigilant 100% of the time.”
(Top picture: PA)