Confirming the public’s perception that hidden camera vans and trailers have no effect in reducing the road toll, the president of the Queensland Police Union, Ian Levers, told CarAdvice it’s time for a change.
“They are revenue raisers pure and simple, we all know it,” Levers said.
“With any other organisation if you try something and it doesn't work, you try something different. However, with these covert speed cameras, even though we know they don't work, rather than try something different senior police simply roll out more? It doesn't make sense.”
Having made the comments regarding the covert speed cameras earlier this month, CarAdvice got in contact with Mr Levers with a series of questions regarding whether the whole concept of speed enforcement required a rethink.
“All forms of mobile, covert and unmarked speed cameras including speed camera trailers do nothing to affect the road toll.”
According to Levers, the public are “already highly cynical” of such cameras and have “every right to accuse the government of revenue raising”.
The comments come two years after Queensland police removed the “speed camera in use” signs, essentially hiding the cameras, with many motorists unaware they are in operation until it's too late.
The Labor government in Queensland has planned to increase its revenue from speed cameras by almost 50 per cent by 2021 to around $190 million, according to deputy LNP leader Tim Mander.
“The [Queensland Premier Annastacia] Palaszczuk government is using Queenslanders as cash cows,” he told the media last week. “They have budgeted an extra 46 per cent in speeding fines for the next three years.”
The LNP has gone a step further and promised to abolish all covert speed cameras if it wins the next election; no doubt a promise motivated purely by political aspirations, but a reasonable one nonetheless.
Meanwhile, Levers says that continued operation of these hidden speed cameras not only does nothing but raise revenue, but it actually damages the reputation of Queensland police.
“These devices only serve to damage the reputation of the police. Only a highly visible policing presence and highly marked police speed camera vans with large police decals all over them staffed by police are the way to address the road toll.
"Policing has always been a partnership with the community and is most successful when we do it with the co-operation of the community. Police receive significant criticism from the public and are accused of being 'revenue raisers' when unmarked and covert speed cameras or speed camera trailers are deployed.”
According to Levers, the main problem with the hidden speed cameras is they do not enforce the speed limit, rather, issue a fine that comes at a date that is no longer relevant in serving as a punishment for the offending motorist.
“Getting a ticket in the mail up to a month after speeding when you can barely remember even where you were back then, has no effect and is, quite rightly, cynically viewed as revenue raising. We need an immediate end to the use of these 'sneaky' devices and increase more visible policing so that we can regain public confidence."
Although he refused to answer our questions in regards to whether or not the whole idea of speed enforcement needs a thorough overhaul, or whether ‘every kilometre over’ really is a killer, the most telling comment from the Queensland Police Union president comes in regards to the fact that speed cameras in general, have little relevance when it comes to reducing speed-related accidents.
“Most of these people involved in some of these horrific speed-related crashes and deaths have abysmal driving records, to begin with and these types of covert speed cameras would not have made a single difference whereas an actual policing presence would have.”
If we read into these comments a little bit further, it basically means the majority of law-abiding motorists who get caught out by low-level speeding tickets (less than 13km/h over the speed limit: $168 + 1 demerit point) from these hidden units, are merely paying the state government an additional tax.
Well, there you have it. Now you know, that even the Queensland police officers who are manning speed camera vans, or parking the new mobile speed camera trailers on the highway, are aware that the only purpose these operations serve is to raise revenue.
The comments are likely to have widespread implications for the credibility of the speed cameras and the continuous propaganda that is served by the likes of Queensland Transport in regards to speed enforcement and the idea that speed cameras save lives.
When the police admit speed cameras don’t save lives, it’s hard to believe the bureaucrats.
Tell us what you think.
Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss this story below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.