On 1st August all speed cameras in Oxfordshire were turned off, well technically they were turned off over a period of a few days - prosecutions stopped on 1st August. So some of them still worked. I'm waiting for the first case of the council chancing their arm with an August prosecution. Anyway it didn't take long for some safer roads campaigners to start bleating:
Last week, Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership said a roadside camera on the A44 in Woodstock had seen an 18.3 per cent increase in speed offences since the switch-off compared to the average number caught this year.Speeding offences up eh? What about traffic accidents, casualties, deaths? Are they up? Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership seem strangely silent on that one. But even these figures are not all they seem:
At the same time a radar inside a second camera in Watlington Road, Cowley, registered an 88 per cent rise in offences when compared with figures in 2008 and 2009.
The partnership said the figures for 2010 were not available, as the camera had been switched off due to roadworks.So it takes a FOI request to prove they're misleading. But they insist:
When the Oxford Mail requested 2008-9 data for the Woodstock camera – to make an equal comparison to the Watlington Road camera – the partnership said the figures were not readily to hand.
Now, the Oxford Mail having obtained the information, the figures actually show speed offences fell by four per cent when comparing the figures since the switch-off to offences in 2008-9.
Yes of course, which is why August isn't over yet but you couldn't wait to issue that 'shock horror' rise of 18%. Compare that to the pro-camera argument, that 11 months was too early to tell when Swindon didn't show any rise after a year of switching them off.
...there was no deliberate attempt to mislead the public about the figures.
“I don’t think there’s anything we have done that is disgraceful or lies and damn lies.
“As we have always maintained, these remain limited data sets and there is a great deal more study that will need to be undertaken to determine what the increased risk at decommissioned camera sites is.”