The Police Federation, which represents 136,000 officers, said it believed some roadside cameras were being used to raise money for the police’s coffers – and rank-and-file policemen claim they are bearing the brunt of the public backlash against cameras.

Federation chairman Jan Berry said: ‘I believe some cameras are there as a revenue generator, and the police get the blame for that.’

The Federation supports the use of cameras at accident blackspots, but wants an audit of speed cameras to establish whether they are needed.

It points out that cameras can’t detect drink-drivers, uninsured motorists or people not wearing a seatbelt. ‘I don’t think you can remove the human element from policing and replace it with a camera,’ said Berry.

It is also argued that if a police officer gives a warning to a speeding motorist, it is more effective than issuing a fine and penalty points.

Home Office figures show that the number of speeding fines issued increased from 1.1m in 2001 to 1.5m in 2002. However, as the number of speed cameras has increased, the number of traffic officers has fallen.

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