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Here is Brian Austin's attempt to keep secret the information about the Greed on greed camera:

Dear Mr Belchamber,

 

Serial Number: 0003/11/09 (Please quote this reference in future correspondence regarding this submission.

 

Thank you for your email of 19 November concerning Speed on Green.

 

I would first refer you to the press release on the Dorset Safety Camera Partnership (DSCP) website dated 17 November 2009

(www.dorsetsafetycameras.org.uk) - this I consider answers two of your questions and is very informative, it does not however  answer the "number of drivers that have received fines" - this information I class as exempt under section 31 & 38 of the Act. 

 

Under Section 1 (1) (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I can confirm that the Dorset Safety Camera Partnership does hold the information you have requested and I deem to be exempt.

 

Having considered your request, acting as decision maker in this process and in accordance with Section 17 of the Act, the information (as in the number of drivers that have received fines) you have requested will not be supplied to you as I regard the question you have asked to be exempt information under sections 31& 38 of the Act. 

 

To clarify, the release of data under the Freedom of Information Act

2000 is made if it is of interest to the general public rather than a specific individual.  For example in relation to safety cameras the release of annual audited accounts, training details of safety camera operators etc is actively published on the Dorset Safety Camera Partnership website as these are considered of interest to the general public.

 

The release of any sort of information that could indicate the level of use or frequency of activation of any safety cameras allows those inclined to speeding to realise their risk of being caught at a particular site and thus take action to avoid that site moving the risk they create to another route.  This release of information therefore is deemed to be of interest to a specific person rather than benefit to the public in general (section 31 (Law Enforcement applies)). 

 

The release of any sort of information that could indicate the level of use or frequency of activation of any safety cameras allows those that are classed as anti-camera to take action against the camera operators or the camera site.  Empirical evidence exists to prove that when site specific data is released the level of attacks nationally against safety camera sites increase.  Empirical evidence exists to show that safety camera attacks have recently taken place in Dorset (at five sites) thus causing those safety cameras to be inactive for a period and therefore increasing the risk at these sites where a record of collision injuries exist.  This release of information therefore is deemed to be of interest to a specific person rather than benefit to the public in general (section 31 (Law Enforcement) and 38 (Health and Safety applies)). 

 

I have attached the Public Interest Test (PIT) that explains the use of these exemptions for your reference

 

If you wish to appeal against my non release of information or use of exemptions you may do so by writing to the address below:

 

Head of the Fixed Penalty Department

Dorset Police Headquarters

Winfrith

Dorset

DT2 8DZ

 

Regards

 

Brian Austin

Freedom of Information Manager

 


Here was my response which demonstrates well the absurdity of Brian Austin's attempt to withhold the information:

 

Thank you for your response.

 

For such an activity I was hoping for some more scientific data, maybe I'll just try a few more questions:

 

1.            The speed reduction (41 to 39) relates to the vehicles which are

exceeding the limit. Do you have figures for the total average speed of all vehicles?

2.            Do you have percentages of vehicles above and below the limit before and

after the speed on green cameras were introduced?

 

 

I would like to appeal against your non-release concerning the numbers of

fines. I will list my points here and follow up with a written letter as you

suggest:

 

"The release of any sort of information that could indicate the level of

use or frequency of activation of any safety cameras allows those

inclined to speeding to realise their risk of being caught at a

particular site and thus take action to avoid that site moving the risk

they create to another route."

 

Drivers will not change routes to allow them to speed, and even if they did,

they would be unlikely to be making this choice by considering the numbers

of fines raised at the site. If they want to speed, they will do so, and

will just slow where the camera is situated, certainly in this case where

the time lost due to having to drive at the limit for a short distance is

insignificant compared to the time added to take another route.

 

"The release of any sort of information that could indicate the level of

use or frequency of activation of any safety cameras allows those that

are classed as anti-camera to take action against the camera operators

or the camera site."

 

How on earth? Perhaps, the presence of operators at sites might allow them

to be subject to verbal and possibly even physical abuse. Therefore, this

risk will increase with the number of visits. However, technology today

allows for data to be collected remotely, or for greater amounts of data to

be stored. So it certainly should not be necessary to visit a site more

frequently which has higher levels of detection.

 

"Empirical evidence exists to prove that when site

specific data is released the level of attacks nationally against safety

camera sites increase."

 

Any increase of awareness of safety partnership activities will increase

general attacks against them and cameras. Site specific data is likely to

raise tempers the most. However, unlawful activities such as attacks on

cameras are a separate issue to the fair and reasonable understanding of

safety camera activities and should not effect them - we don't as far as I

am aware hide any other crime statistics in order to reduce attacks on the

systems of the law as of course we should not.

 

"For camera enforcement to be truly effective there must be the perception

that the chances of being recorded at high at all sites."

 

Not true. Wherever there is a camera, drivers that are aware of them and

know that their speed is above, will slow before them, (and usually, speed

up after them). They will not take the chance that the camera is inactive at

the time.

 

"Cameras are deployed on an intelligence led basis the disclosure of sites

will make this approach invalid."

 

Not relevant to Holes Bay. It is quite obvious that this is a speed

detection site. In any case, enforcement sites are already published.

 

"The disclosure of specific data on camera sites would make the camera

deployment less effective which would impact on the safety of pedestrians

and road users at large."

 

Why? Seems most unlikely, can you provide evidence for this? It's just as

easy to say that if large numbers of fines are publicised, this would work

as a deterrent, or if low numbers of fines are raised at a site, then the

enforcement is working and it's good news.

 

Above are the reasons that I do not believe the information should be

withheld. Not one of the reasons given to withhold the information stands up

to any logical reasoning. Here is why I think the information should be

available:

 

-Anything the partnerships do to "hide" information which clearly everyone

(not just an individual) would be very interested to know, helps to enhance

the view that the partnerships can do whatever they like and are keen to do

so. This further damages the reputation of the partnerships and helps to

reinforce the view they are just money grabbing.

 

-The fact that this particular figure (which many expect will be very high)

is being withheld gives the impression that the income is indeed colossal.

Given the road type, and the road safety problems which are not being

addressed, this creates the impression that the partnership wants the income

but does not want it to be known how much money is being made as this would

be likely to look extremely bad.

 

-A high figure would also indicate that the trial is not a success.

Continuing the trial, but keeping it quiet, rather than abandoning it and

doing more useful work which would really have an impact on road safety and

actually gain the support of drivers, is the easy option.

 

The partnerships should be introducing activities which gain the respect of

good drivers, and should be completely open about their methods and results.

The possibility for the public to know about activities which aren't

achieving what they should, should motivate the partnerships to introduce

operations which actually target the important issues.

 

The release of the fine counts like this will help the public to understand

the effectiveness of such operations, and either respect and support them,

or challenge them if the partnerships could be doing better. This is in

everyone's interest. The hiding of such data helps to promote the idea that

drivers should just avoid being caught for speeding, rather than driving

safely, which is in no one's interest.

 

Ian Belchamber