Saturday 4 November 2017 00.01 GMT
Only about half of the UK’s fixed speed cameras are on and primed to catch traffic offenders, a survey suggests.
This means that speeding drivers may have been let off of hundreds of pounds worth of fines each, as police forces seek to cut costs.
Previously, police forces were allowed to keep the revenues raised from the cameras in their jurisdiction. The fines now go directly to the Treasury.
Four counties do not have any fixed speed cameras while 13 have less than half of theirs switched on.
Road safety charity Brake said the figures were concerning and call for all speed cameras to be on and working.
Edmund King, president of motoring group AA, said the high number of inactive cameras was down to pressure on budgets.
The Press Association sent freedom of information requests to all 45 territorial police forces across the UK, along with their speed camera partnerships, to ask how many of their speed cameras were active.
The 36 forces which responded with data had a total 2,838 cameras, of which 1,486 were active. Nine refused to disclose the information or failed to respond.
Cleveland, Durham, North Yorkshire and Northamptonshire said none of their fixed speed cameras were active.
Northamptonshire said it turned its cameras off in April 2011, but left the structures in place to discourage speeders.
Staffordshire have only 14 of their 272 fixed cameras switched on; Derbyshire operates 112 cameras but just 10 of them ever catch speeders.
All of the police forces to respond to the FoI request said they regularly sent out mobile speed cameras across their jurisdictions. Figures from these cameras were not included in the disclosures.
Respondents also said they regularly review which fixed cameras are turned on, suggesting a rotation in activating cameras.
A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said the decision to use cameras was an operational matter, adding: “All forces have individual responsibility for their use of speed cameras.
“Many of the empty yellow cases are due to cuts in road safety grants and the fact that digital cameras, although more effective, are very expensive.
“It is also reflective of the fact that proceeds from cameras are no longer allowed to be ring-fenced to be reinvested into yet more cameras as now all the money goes to the Treasury.”
Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns at Brake, said: “A staggering 1,800 people lost their lives on British roads last year and speeding is a factor in thousands of crashes.
“Speed cameras are a proven, cost-effective way of reducing deadly collisions and so it’s critical they are operational.
“We are concerned to see figures which suggest so many are switched off and would urge they are urgently put back into action.”