Update Jan 2014

My investigation into speed cameras is, quite incredibly, still ongoing and the further it goes, the worse it gets. The extent of the failures and the amount of time it is taking to expose them has made it necessary for me to produce a review of the situation so far.

I have been investigating speed cameras for 10 years now, and have also learned a great deal about road safety in general. I am completely independent, this extensive work has been unpaid, I have no political, financial, or popularity interests, only in transparency, effectiveness, honesty, and efficiency of road safety (and other) activities in Dorset (primarily) and other areas. I am a successful engineer with a long career built on the ability to recognise when things are not working right and to work out how to fix them.

This background gives me the ideal position to see and report things as they really are and it’s not pretty. There is no grey area, what we see from all of the organisations and individuals mentioned below and others is behaviour as far removed as it possibly could be from anything that could possibly be considered professional safety work. Absolutely everything I have found (as I will show) is consistent with these simple conclusions so far:

1. Speed cameras only exist to make money for the individuals, organisations, and equipment providers that benefit from the cash they generate.
2. Those organisations and individuals are quite happy to misrepresent camera benefit to prolong the scandal and the danger.
3. Given that speed is only a factor in only 7% of KSI accidents, and speed camera coverage is so small, and many speeding KSIs will have more serious factors such as drunk / drugs / crime / joy riding etc which speed limits and enforcements will not solve anyway, it is impossible that any potential safety benefit outweighs the risks and negative effects (including distraction from competent road safety efforts)  - speed cameras therefore make our roads more, not less dangerous overall, see http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/sog124.aspx for more info - not to mention the blatant disregard for the safety of camera operators and drivers demonstrated here - http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/140.aspx
4. Other reasons for the continuing use of speed cameras include avoiding admitting mistakes, seeking popularity, being seen to be "doing something", job / empire preservation, etc.
5. Many of those who benefit are within police forces, councils, government, etc. and are dishonest, abuse their positions, and sometimes even the law to continue doing what they are doing. They are therefore as I will further explain below corrupt.
6. They can do this because they can refuse to be accountable and transparent. They can ignore questions / concerns and they can even abuse the freedom of information system.
7. The regulators who should be helping whistleblowers to expose the scandals prefer to simply protect the establishment. They do this by totally ignoring evidence that is inconvenient to the conclusions they want.
8. Many of those taking part in this scandal and in the further organisations that should be preventing it but are choosing instead to protect / prolong it are acting against their codes of conduct and potentially committing more serious offences such as obtaining money by false pretences, perverting the course of justice, and fraud, and / or aiding and abetting those offences.
9. The revenue fuelled disproportionate attention given to speed is interfering with honest and competent road safety progress - it is therefore costing lives.

But how is it possible that such an appalling situation could even have started, let alone continued for 10 or more years? If you read through some of the history below, you will see. The motivations of multi-million pound industries in every county are obvious. Whereas I and many others have attempted to expose the scam by properly investigating the facts, evidence and realities, any authority challenged has relied on secrecy and lack of accountability / transparency in order to avoid dealing with the issues. Seriously, if anyone can find any case of any issue raised being properly dealt with in all that follows please let me know because I genuinely do not believe it has ever happened.

The early part of my investigations can be seen on my website www.dorsetspeed.org.uk More than a hundred articles are listed by date, mostly describing concerns about Dorset Police / Dorset Road "Safe". Although it is clear that these organisations are well aware of these, incredibly, not a single article or even a single statement has received a single proper response, challenge or denial of any kind from anyone.

Although I have focussed on problems in Dorset I have found similar problems everywhere I have looked, including:
- Scotland http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/134.aspx (and how the ASA embarrassed itself over misleading marketing claims http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/136.aspx)
- Kent http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/127.aspx
And it's not just me, other road safety campaigners are finding problems elsewhere such as
- Humberside http://www.fightbackwithfacts.com/humberside-safer-roads-false-claims/
- DfT http://www.fightbackwithfacts.com/how-the-figures-were-skewed/
And simple google searches like "speed cameras make money" will find any amount of evidence of the con.

Here is some background demonstrating examples of the financial motivations and methods.

Although the scandal goes back much further, Dorset Police, following a change in the rules brought in by the government as a half-hearted attempt to reduce the financial motivations of speed cameras, so that all fine money would go to the government, were among the first to find a way to work around this problem. They started offering courses - by "offering" a course at a sky high price to those caught speeding instead of prosecuting them, they could keep all the money. Where elsewhere partnerships were being closed down due to lack of funding and camera and partnership staff were losing their jobs (and incidentally, ksi reductions continued without them surprise, surprise) those in the Dorset "Safety" Partnership were busy securing their future.

Dorset now had the access to the money, all they had to do now was to get vast numbers of "invitations" to the course out there. That was easy - Poole (and other) councils (who incidentally have obvious financial links with the police and therefore also an interest in enforcement income) were putting limits down without any proper justifications whatsoever and ignoring public objection, (such as the A3049, where it measured and AVERAGE speed of 62 but set the limit at 50 http://www.ukroadsense.co.uk/pdf/objection.pdf). They introduced new long range mobile camera technology and used it most commonly at the most ridiculous locations, where the negative effects of speed enforcement (http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/neg.aspx) were absolutely bound to exceed any potential positive effects. Sadly but almost inevitably this resulted in the death of a motorcyclist on the A338 (http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/9212760.Biker_s_fatal_crash_linked_to_speed_camera/) I asked Dorset Road "Safe" how many road deaths had a camera as a factor and they dodged the question, by saying they had no records, appalling.

But one problem remained - how to ensure that the money would primarily ensure security for the partnership jobs and empires without it being blatantly obvious. For as long as they could they lied about this, saying that all fine money went to the government, but failing to point out that the course money was theirs and was paying their wages. When they could no longer get away with this they solved it firstly by refusing to be transparent about the finances and then when forced, by lying about them. Such were the profits of the courses that they were risking public outrage if the truth had become known.

Looking at the declared camera statistics for 2012 / 2013, a total of 26,211 NIPs were raised and with a course income of £2.2 million in the year before (the 2013 figures seem to be well hidden) it is plainly obvious that the "fine" income is completely insignificant compared to the "course" income. So a driver continuously abusing speed limits (and other traffic laws) and getting caught fairly regularly could have a license as clean as a "perfect" driver. How is this any good for road safety? What it's good for is the management of Dorset Road "Safe", who will stay in work because of the course fees, while the driver who might otherwise have been banned (perhaps correctly) stays on the road continuing to drive dangerously.

Dorset also set up a fixed camera so blatantly designed to make money it surprised even me - the famous greed on green. The press release said it was about safety,  http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/sog.aspx . I wanted to know how much money was being made, not surprisingly Dorset Police did not want me to know. The Information Commissioner made them answer and this revealed that the camera was at a ZERO ksi location : http://www.dorsetroadsafe.org.uk/images/Documents/SiteStats2012-13/RedLightCams/RL%20A350%20Holes%20Bay%20RdPoole%20jw%20Sterte%20Road%201023%20Sbd.pdf .  They were forced to change their story, they then said it was a "community concern" site http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/185580/Outrage-at-speed-camera-that-rakes-in-1-3m-a-year-on-safe-road . However, they were then completely unable to quantify any level of "community concern" by FOI so that was a lie too. The camera was shut down, obviously because they had been found out, but they even lied about that as well, saying that this £1million / year camera was shut down to save money!!!! http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/sog52.aspx !!! Here is a link to an article with a direct lie from Johnny Stephens telling us the greed on green camera was to "prevent serious and fatal collisions" when he himself must have known that there were none to prevent where the camera was placed: http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/4485001.Dorset_traffic_light_speed_camera_list_is_fake/
There were not even any slight injuries for the previous 4 years!! I believe it would be difficult to find a less worthy site for enforcement on the claimed grounds of safety or concern and yet at least £1million was raised by Dorset Police on the back of only a pack of lies.

How many lies is that so far? How can this possibly not amount to a blatant and serious case of obtaining money by deception, now covered by the general offence of fraud? How can the implication that operations like this can make a useful contribution to a 40% reduction in KSIs in a decade not amount to misrepresentation of potential benefit? Or do Johnny Stephens and his colleagues not know what 40% of nothing is? What about the LIES then told to drivers about how dangerously fast they had been driving at less than 40 where you could quite literally land a small aircraft (perhaps were it not for the lamp posts)?

There is absolutely no indication whatsoever that in the 4 years since things have improved at all.

Even in the heavily censored Dorset Road "Safe" reports ("Minutes taken for this section are exempt from open publication under Section 31 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000") the odd indications of the financial interests / objectives slip out:
"Speed on Green enforcement at junction of Sterte Road and Holes Bay is going well." You bet it was going well, over £100,000 a month! Funny though because we've always been told the most successful cameras don't catch any speeders at all. They don't want your money. Actually, you will see below just how much they do want your money.

This one demonstrates the extent to which the finances dominate the thoughts of these so called safety personnel. "JV summarised that all were in a difficult position and this has a knock on effect to the continuance of the Partnership and at what level." It is quite obscene that those entrusted with safety work are grappling with concerns on money resulting from the enforcement operations they themselves select, money that is keeping them in work.
"BA confirmed that obtaining resources and finance is difficult. After review and discussions it has been decided that there will be a series of mini SAT operations between April and the end of June" Well it looks to me like this is a clear admission that these mini SAT operations are being done to help with obtaining resources and finance, not saving life, shocking (or perhaps not). I wonder if those who ended up going on the course were given the honest reasons why they were there?

I found a definition of "corruption" here: http://www.transparency.org.uk/corruption : "Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone whose life, livelihood or happiness depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority." Never could there be a more blatant example of the "abuse of entrusted power for private gain". I am therefore unable to avoid declaring Dorset Police corrupt. It follows that any organisations and individuals who have chosen to assist / prolong / cover up this corruption as I will explain are also corrupt.

I was confident of my observations and conclusions at an early stage but in April 2011 I opened a can of worms that was even going to shock even me.
It was clear by now that the fuel for the out of control Dorset Road "Safe" organisation was the profit being made from the courses. All I had to do to get to the heart of this scam was to "follow the money". The course cost was known, in Dorset, the highest in the UK at £100. Even Annette Brooke MP was concerned about it after complaints from the public but was unable to get any satisfactory answers from Dorset Police http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/sog70.aspx

The DfT told me the course should not generate surplus. Proving that there was surplus, and that it was obscene, would make some some very good progress in exposing the scam. I asked a simple question through FOI: "Could you please detail to me the COST OF PROVISION of the course (per person), and what makes this up?" What has happened since has been shocking but perhaps predictable.

There is no question that is inconvenient, embarrassing or awkward to an honest and competent origanisation, and you would think that in something that the public are deeply suspicious about anyway, absolutely any opportunity to demonstrate efficient and honest use of public money would be welcome under any circumstances.

However the resistance Dorset Police have put up to avoid this simple question is entirely consistent with my confidence that Dorset Police have not the slightest interest in reducing road deaths but an obsession with the amount of money that they can make from road policing targeting the normal safe drivers and the effort it must make to avoid this from being obvious. I was eventually provided with some top level costs for the course, the top 4 costs clearly totally excessive and therefore almost certainly false in order to try to hide the course profitability (let's add false accounting to the list of likely offences). The top cost was for staffing, £522,000. I estimated that the course had 40 people at a time. There is clearly no way in the world that it could possibly require the equivalent of 10 full time staff on £52K to run a simple course for 40 people. The second highest cost was for course premises at over £150,000, more than 3 times the amount of totally adequate premises I found on google in minutes and in any case, my understanding is that the courses were based in what was already public (Police) property. I quite reasonably asked for the detail on these costs, although I knew that a proper evaluation of the costs would prove the scandal and that therefore Dorset Police would resist the request to the bitter end and that is exactly what happened.

The avoidance of explanation and transparency of 4 simple costs which any normal person could tell at a glance could only be totally excessive or fraudulent has resulted in a shocking and appaling trail of corruption:

To this day, nearly 3 years on, Dorset Police have avoided answering these questions. Worse than that:
- They initially dodged it by saying the information was available elsewhere, but it was not
- They abused the FOI system by ignoring the question for as long as they could
- They also tried to suggest it would be too expensive to answer the question - either yet another lie or an indication that the finances were completely out of control
- Then they declared me vexatious to avoid answering the question, even when they had refused the same answers to Annette Brooke MP
- The Information Commissioner who had previously had to get DP to give me the top level figures when they had tried to avoid this by completely ignoring the question, then decided to protect Dorset Police by agreeing with them that the obvious observation that those costs were absurd and should be explained amounted to vexatious questioning. The only way their decision could be reached was to refuse point blank to face the facts and evidence I put forward.
- In exactly the same way the first tier information tribunal protected the IC and DP by completely ignoring all the facts and evidence I put forward.

This part of the scandal is fully described in this document  ico.aspx . One of the referenced documents is a simple analysis of the facts leading to the unavoidable conclusion that all the indications of fraud are clearly evident in the actions of Dorset Police 19Jan2013.pdf. No-one, including Dorset Police themselves, has made any attempt whatsoever to deny or challenge these allegations or offer any explanation of the important issues raised. I even informed the auditors of Dorset Police, KPMG, after some time they concluded that "the authority is not profiting unlawfully from the partnership" but also conveniently refused to comment on the one thing that really mattered, indicating that it actually was profiting unlawfully, the clearly excessive course costs claimed.

I also raised a formal complaint against Dorset Police. This was ignored at every level, detail here: http://www.dorsetspeed.org.uk/news/sog110.aspx . Eventually this complaint was upheld by the IPCC and now 2 years later, is still ongoing.

But this was just the start of the information cover up
The document above ico.aspx clearly demonstrates that the decisions of the information commissioner and first tier tribunal were biased, and only considered the factors that were convenient to the conclusion they wanted, not in the public interest but to sustain a growing and spreading protection effort. This was used to raise:
1. a complaint against Judge Farrer who was responsible for the first tier decision. Judge Warren dealt with it. He acted to protect Judge Farrer: warren.aspx . This was such a serious breach of the judicial code of conduct that I brought it to the attention of the Judicial ombudsman. The Judicial Ombudsman (Sir John Brigstocke KCB) chose to protect the previous judges by (rather like Judge Warren) finding an interpretation of the complaint that meant that there was nothing within his remit to deal with when there clearly and plainly was omb.aspx
2. an application to upper tribunal. I received the response on the 22nd Nov 2013. It chose also to protect the first tier tribunal, information commissioner and Dorset Police. My reply lists any significant points made by Upper Tribunal with my comments. The response spectacularly avoided the points I made in response to the submissions of the Information Commissioner CommissionerResponse.pdf and Dorset Police Response to Dorset Police submission1.pdf , which any normal person would completely agree could only possibly result in requiring Dorset Police to explain where the money was going. Also, although there should have been hearings in both the first and upper tribunal cases, these were avoided. I registered this as an application for appeal with upper tribunal: Response to Decision of Upper Tribunal.pdf

In Feb 2014 I received the response to my request to appeal against Upper Tribunal, and needless to say it was just more of the same consistent with everything that had gone before. My full response is here: utt_appeal_refusal_response.pdf, I'll copy the conclusion:

“This latest feeble attempt by judge Wright to sustain this obvious cover-up which is now falling flat on its face confirms to me that the corruption / incompetence in the information regulators is as serious if not more than the misrepresentation of finances and / or massive waste we have seen in the top level figures reluctantly provided by Dorset Police after abusing its Freedom of Information responsibilities.”

Yes, I have declared the head Judge at Upper Information Tribunal (amongst many others) corrupt, and I am 100% confident that I could solidly support any challenge to this. I even asked for this statement to be passed to him. But just like all the others, he has completely failed to take any interest or notice in this, feels no need to challenge or deny the allegation, he's just ignoring it and will presumably continue making corrupt decisions against the public interest completely out of reach from any kind of accountability to the public he is supposed to serve.  

So what we are seeing now is what I can only describe as a disease of corruption starting in Police forces such as Dorset, as the inevitable result of the toxic combination of large amounts of money, and freedom of those whose jobs depend on it to decide on not just what is good or not for the safety of the public, but also what makes obscene percentages of cash profit or not. What did anyone really think was going to happen? And this disease spreading to other authorities / regulators such as Councils, the Information Commissioner, First and Upper Tier Information Tribunal, Advertising Standards Agency, and even the Judicial Ombudsman, and quite possibly even the auditors of Dorset Police KPMG. Even the DfT have been repeatedly and comprehensively informed and have turned a blind eye. How many other cases of all kinds are being abused in this way? The implications are truly horrendous.

But no one should be too surprised about this, it is entirely consistent with the recent widespread news about loss of confidence in British Police, for example:



What has amazed me though is how far the corruption spreads through those whose fundamental purpose is to help with transparency, accountability and honesty.

So, I am waiting for the conclusion on the IPCC case. Although it seemed that Dorset Police had thrown them off the scent a bit at the review around Christmas, I am still optimistic that this investigation at least is being carried out professionally and impartially, although the fallout from the right conclusion would now clearly be unimaginable and I am concerned about what pressure the investigators may experience to take the cover-up one step further.

Update, May 2014

Incredibly I still wait for a proper conclusion, in fact anything at all, to the IPCC case. Dorset Police continues with apparently increasingly dangerous and obstructive "safety" van placements, and a local and national news article have resulted:



You only have to look at the readers comments and votes to see that public opinion is heavily against these operations.

And despite news that Dorset Police have signed up to a new "code of ethics", promoting transparency, etc, even as recently as March we heard Supt. Nicky Searle wriggling out of questions about avoiding transparency about the course money:


On the Dorset Police website, http://www.dorset.police.uk/default.aspx?page=7583, :

“There is clearly more work to be done to ensure that we are as transparent and open as possible, so that the public can have confidence in their police service and we can demonstrate that we deal robustly with breaches of our professional standards and constantly seek to learn and improve.”

That's refreshing! Some honesty from Dorset Police! All we need now is to see some action.