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UK Road Sense, Dorset Way / A3049 50 limit


I have been following Mr Belchamber's efforts over recent months with some considerable interest. I started as an open-minded, undecided observer. In fact upon hearing of the cameras' initial installation, well before Mr Belchamber began the counter-effort I pondered the usefulness of the installation, and, as a computer scientist, had to conclude that this was an ill judged implementation of an invention seeking an application. Recently released figures following Mr Belchamber's FOI requests have changed my mind. The only logical conclusion following the fairly simple mathematical patterns involved demonstrate clearly that rather than a 'happy accident' in terms of the incredible turnover these cameras have created for DSCP, it was in fact a well calculated geographical decision based on maximum Return on Investment, the three principle factors involved being the inappropriate limit for the area concerned, the lack of understanding of non local road users and the geographical situation as it pertains to the large number of motorcycle enthusiasts that visit Poole Quay each Tuesday evening. I'm not sure this is an angle that Mr Belchamber has pursued but I would personally be very interested in understanding the ratio of car to motorcycle fines issued and am considering filing a Freedom of Information request for same data, should it exist (I am not aware whether or not the vehicle type is a metric associated with each NIP/fine issued). Despite the possible interpretation that I'm an 'angry biker' I should point out I am in fact not a motorcyclist, just an observer of patterns.

Unfortunately there has been a somewhat fatal flaw in the analysis conducted by those who chose this site as a maximum return on investment for the cameras. The ROI depends greatly on the Total Cost of Ownership, and that cannot, in a complex case such as this, be calculated as a cash sum. There are factors and weightings that would need to be taken into account, among which would be the 'protest factor' - a phenomenon that I believe you may be witnessing now. Although it is difficult to quantify and measure the long term and even short term 'cost' of such factors as degradation of trust, increased cynicism, increased volume of challenges to fixed penalty fines etc, that same cost cannot be ignored.

At the same time, it also has to be pointed out that 'official' counters to Mr Belchamber's efforts seem somewhat lacklustre in terms of both content, and respect for public intellect. Soundbites and repeated affirmations that there were consultations prior to installation, without naming the consultations/dates/sample population, or insistence that the cameras have widespread support when they very clearly don't is only exacerbating the current situation and increasing the numbers and momentum of those prepared to protest. If there was no realistic level of consultation, and there is a general feeling of dissent around the cameras then why not admit that this has been done wrongly and regain some of the respect lost. There's not a single member of the voting public that hasn't made a bad decision before and a public apology and deinstallation may be the only way now to prevent those 'hidden' costs I referred to above swelling to the point where the return on investment is non viable. If the group of protesters pools funds to challenge the technicalities of the  cameras or actually manages to successfully contend that they are badly or even illegally placed there could be a tidal wave of refunds and the really savvy might even counterclaim increased insurance costs, if anyone has gained sufficient points to go from a near ban to an actual ban based on one of these they could conceivably claim loss of income etc.

It should also be pointed out that when crossing a signal incorporated into a multi-way junction there are a good number of things a driver should observe. The presence of other vehicles, the current view in the mirror, the ongoing state of the signal itself, is it still green, etc. Adding the necessity to observe the speedometer on approach, crossing the light and then crossing the 'check lines' painted uproad from the junction is almost certainly not conducive to 'better' driving.

There has been a complete betrayal of public trust here. My strength of feeling on this matter is adequate to compel me to join with Mr Belchamber, whose prose on the matter is more sensible, more reasonable and more verifiable in terms of content than anything I have seen/heard from DSCP, its affiliates or spokespersons. Although I have not been directly affected by these cameras and have no points on my license or NIPs pending I would still be prepared to add financial support to a counter claim as I cannot conclude that it would be anything other than in the public interest if the organisations involved were 'punished' by the public for such a calculated, cynical act. It is important to remember that 'official bodies' and groups/teams such as your own (to ALL on copy) assist with the enforcement of the law with the CONSENT of the voting public and not by divine right. A balance is required, and at present it is not being struck. This seems to be a case in which the media have actually chosen to understand the importance of public dismay, for that they deserve praise.

On an unrelated and brighter note I actually applaud the 'no excuse' campaign, in terms of it's objectives, although I do wish it could be conducted with a bit less 'nanny speak'. The concept of using real police to detect real motoring offences that actually endanger lives is refreshing. It would be nice to think that some of the revenue from these cameras could be diverted into increasing policing of such real offences as I believe Mr Belchamber has already pointed out.