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Rank-and-file police have launched an attack on speed cameras, saying they are "destroying" the relationship between officers and law-abiding citizens in middle England.

The Police Federation, which represents 136,000 officers, said it believed some roadside cameras were being used simply to raise money for force coffers.

Officers are bearing the brunt of a public backlash against cameras and are regularly called money grabbers by motorists and the public, it said.

Federation chairman Jan Berry said: "That happens every day. I'm not on operational duty but even if I'm out socially these types of comments come in my direction.

"There is a general perception that it is a money-making exercise.

"I believe some cameras are there as a revenue generator. I think police get the blame for that.

"I think it has been quite destructive - middle England will continue to pay their fines but others don't."

She said the problem was the "sheer number" of cameras - the Government says there are around 4,500.

The Federation supports the use of cameras at accident blackspots but wants an audit of those in place to establish whether they are needed.

"We want some assurances that the cameras are being put in for safety issues. The Government are going to have to demonstrate that in some way

She said cameras did not have the power of discretion which a police traffic officer could offer.

The Federation also argues that in many cases an officer giving a talk to a motorist about the dangers of travelling at speed would have more of an effect than them receiving a penalty notice in the post.

It also says cameras fail to deter drink drivers and that the number of accidents where drink was a factor has for the first time reached 20,000.

Cameras also cannot detect underage or uninsured drivers, those not wearing seatbelts or without a licence, or those in possession of drugs or guns.

Home Office figures show that the number of speeding fines increased from 1.1 million in 2001 to 1.5 million in 2002.

The increasing number of speed cameras has coincided with a fall in the numbers of traffic officers.

Andrew Howard, head of road safety for the AA Motoring Trust, said: "While three quarters of drivers still support speed cameras, there has been growing concern that revenue raising has become the reason why many cameras are placed where they are.

"Maintaining public support for traffic policing is essential. Drivers have to be confident that they have been convicted because they deserve to be, not because someone wants their money."
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the money doesn't even go back into the roads, goes to victims of crime so i hear! s'all bloody bollox
 
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