The number of motorists attending speed awareness courses in the U.K. has almost tripled since 2010, prompting allegations that police forces are pocketing millions from motorists attending classes.

Details of the profit-motivated industry doubling its profits from courses emerged after Bedfordshire Police & Crime Commissioner Olly Martin announced new revenue-generating proposals.

The senior policeman, who is frequently vocal about his department’s budget shortfall, wants speed cameras across stretches of the motorway network switched on permanently. He is also calling for all drivers caught traveling at over 70 miles per hour to be fined.

Under the zero tolerance approach, speeding motorists will be forced to pay a £100 fine and have points added to their license. They can also opt instead to attend a speed awareness course, which costs around £90 and does not add points to their record.

Martin wants to see the scheme up and running by April of next year. He claims it will generate up to a million pounds for his cash starved force.

Many drivers attend speed awareness courses to avoid points on their license, which increases their insurance premium. Because the course is often a cheaper option than paying a speeding fine, figures released by Parliament reveal a staggering increase in the number of drivers opting to enroll since 2010. In some areas, the number of attendees has almost tripled in five years.

Though the money collected from speeding fines goes to the Treasury, police forces are able to keep the revenue of around £90 from running speed awareness courses.

A Daily Mail report suggests police forces are pocketing tens of millions of pounds by “blackmailing” motorists to attend the courses. It claims that forces received £54 million last year alone by sending more than 1.3 million drivers to the one-day sessions. The report says the startling figures bust the myth that chief constables have no interest in snaring motorists because all fines go directly to the Treasury.

The ultimate aim of speed cameras is supposedly to stop drivers from going over the limit and jeopardizing their safety and the safety of others. In light of the potential of motoring fines being used to boost ailing police budgets, along with the targeting of certain offenses motivated by profit, the Association of British Drivers took to Twitter to express their disgust:

Olly Martin’s claims that he was forced to come up with new ways of generating revenue will simply reinforce existing public skepticism that speed cameras are not for road safety at all, but are about making money. What do you think about potential enforcement on the basis of funding for police forces?


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