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Johnny Stephens refuses to answer questions or communicate on negative effects of cameras

Last message at the top. No response has been received.

Sent: Monday, June 20, 2011 12:14 PM
Subject: Re: Serial Number: 0001/04/11 Your email dated Tuesday 10th May 2011, and 20th June 2011

Incredible. Nonetheless, could you please confirm that you understand the difference between "attributed to" and "contributory factor" and that you are therefore refusing to answer the actual question I asked.
 
Regards, Ian Belchamber

Sent: Monday, June 20, 2011 12:07 PM
Subject: RE: Serial Number: 0001/04/11 Your email dated Tuesday 10th May 2011, and 20th June 2011

Dear Mr Belchamber,

I have nothing further to add apart from reiterating my answer to point 2: -

The answer supplied to Question 2 is correct as you use the terminology “may have been” – this wording requires speculation as agreed by Dorset Police Legal Advisors.  However, I know of no known road deaths that have been attributed to a safety camera’s presence in Dorset”.

Regards

Johnny Stephens


From: Ian Belchamber [mailto:ian@belchamber.net]
Sent: 20 June 2011 09:52
To: Stephens, Johnny; .Dorset Roadsafe
Subject: Re: Serial Number: 0001/04/11 Your email dated Tuesday 10th May 2011
Importance: High

Dear Mr Stephens,

Please will you indicate if you will be responding to this, in particular concerning point 2, as I will soon have to assume that you won't be and will forward this to the information commissioner, I am also considering raising a police complaint about it.

Regards, Ian Belchamber

Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2011 11:06 PM

Subject: Re: Serial Number: 0001/04/11 Your email dated Tuesday 10th May 2011

Dear Mr Stephens,

I am very disappointed that even despite the widely published concern that the speed camera was a factor in the death of Timothy Rowsell, DRS refuses to even consider the possibility that cameras may have any negative impact on road safety, and even goes as far as to refuse to communicate with operators who are quite clearly capable of recording and feeding back dangerous reactions such as panic braking on fast roads (which would quite obviously become "validated evidence"), and only resorts to the technicalities of whether or not the equipment is legal, regardless of the realities.

Yes, I have no evidence that speed cameras cause drivers to brake, sometimes erratically. Neither do I (or probably anyone else) have any evidence that eating cigarettes would not be good for your health. But if you refuse to acknowledge that drivers brake for cameras, you are either being dishonest or you are even more out of touch than even I thought you were, either way, a totally unacceptable situation for someone with a responsibility for saving life.

This deepens the impression that DRS follows it's own agenda without consideration of the actual consequences, even if that might be providing one part of the scenario that might result in an injury or death.

Your clarification of question 2 answers a different question to the one asked. You know of no deaths "attributed to" a speed camera. I asked "I would like to know the number of deaths / serious injuries that have been investigated where the presence of a fixed or mobile speed camera was found to have been a contributory factor." Please can you answer this question.

Surely, DRS in it's responsibility to reduce deaths and injuries on the roads, should be doing more than just "following the rules", it should be constantly trying to find ways of doing things better and being more effective. Just blaming it on the "Home Office" is typical of all communications I've had with all of the Dorset Councils / Police / authorities on this subject.

In the real world, where companies have to compete and survive based purely on results, the attitude of DRS and the multitude of other organisations making a mess of road safety in Dorset, would result in failure in no time at all.

I hope you will respond further on this, I will hold off for the moment in writing to the information commissioner.

Regards, Ian Belchamber

Sent: Friday, June 10, 2011 12:45 PM

Subject: Serial Number: 0001/04/11 Your email dated Tuesday 10th May 2011

Dear Mr. Belchamber,

I have reviewed the questions you presented in your email of 12 April 2011 and the FOI Manager’s response to those questions of 10 May 2011, my findings are as follows:

The answers supplied to questions 1 & 4 have not been challenged and are therefore not discussed.

The answer supplied to Question 2 is correct as you use the terminology “may have been” – this wording requires speculation as agreed by Dorset Police Legal Advisors.  However, I know of no known road deaths that have been attributed to a safety camera’s presence in Dorset.

The answer supplied to Question 3 is correct.  You make assumptions based with no validated evidence presented.  Safety Cameras are type approved for use by the Home Office and I have no record or validated evidence presented to me of any negative effects of their use in road safety.  I will not ask operators for their opinions on “negative” effects of safety cameras as again that would be speculation on their part.  If you wish to challenge the use of safety cameras you may wish to contact the Home Office.

If you wish to appeal against my findings you may contact the Information Commissioners’ Office at the address below:

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Regards

Johnny Stephens

Johnny Stephens    

Head of Fixed Penalties

Dorset Police Headquarters

Winfrith, Dorchester DT2 8DZ

': 01305 227555

8: Johnny.Stephens@Dorset.pnn.police.uk

:: www.dorset.police.uk

 

Committed to A Safer Dorset for You

 

Dear Mr Stephens,

I am obviously entirely dissatisfied with this totally inadequate response. Please can you provide some proper answers, I will clarify some points to assist with this: 

2. I require no speculation, I would like to know the number of deaths / serious injuries that have been investigated where the presence of a fixed or mobile speed camera was found to have been a contributory factor.

3. DRS (and it's operators) MUST be aware of the panic braking caused by speed cameras and the resulting dangers, amongst other negative effects. Please show some honesty, integrity, and balance (for once) and answer this question properly.

Regards,

Ian Belchamber

 

Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 9:02 AM

Subject: RE: Motorcyclist killed - at mobile speed trap - information required

Dear Mr Belchamber,

Serial Number: 0001/04/11 (Please quote this reference in future correspondence regarding this submission).

Thank you for your email of 12 April 2011 regarding the Road Traffic Accident on the A338.

1.  No DRS operations have been suspended.  I will not answer further questions on this subject.

2.  This is not a question under the FOI Act and as there is no qualified evidence would require speculation.  I will not answer further questions on this subject.

3.  This is not a question under the FOI Act and as there is no qualified evidence would require speculation.  I will not answer further questions on this subject.

4.  This is not a question DRS can answer – you would have to direct this question to Dorset Police FOI. 

In the event that you wish to complain about the manner in which your enquiry has been handled, you should write in the first instance to:

Head of the Fixed Penalty Department

Dorset Police

Dorset Police Headquarters

Winfrith

Dorset

DT2 8DZ

 

Regards

 

Brian Austin

Freedom of Information Manager


From: Ian Belchamber (gmail) [mailto:ianbelchamber@gmail.com]
Sent: 12 April 2011 13:25
To: Searle, Colin; Stephens, Johnny; Austin, Brian; info@dorsetsafetycameras.org.uk; Garrett, Pat; .Dorset Roadsafe
Subject: Motorcyclist killed - at mobile speed trap - information required

Please feel free to respond to this “informally” or through the FOI process.

Following the death of the motorcyclist who it seemed braked and skidded on the A338 last Saturday in response to seeing a mobile speed camera van, I asked for mobile speed camera operations to be suspended in Dorset, until any investigations into this death are complete, and until an independent and proper investigation into effectiveness of all speed cameras, taking into account such negative effects, has been fully completed.

  1. Could you please confirm if you will be suspending mobile speed camera operations or not.
  2. Could you let me know in how many road deaths in Dorset the presence of a fixed or mobile speed camera may have been a contributory factor.
  3. Is Dorset Road Safe aware of any “negative effects” of speed cameras and if so could it please list these.
  4. Could you let me know what investigations will be taking place into this death and how I can contribute to those investigations.

Thanks, Ian Belchamber