A POLICE force in the region says fixed speed cameras are still a “tactical option” despite evidence forces are increasingly turning towards mobile cameras and speed camera vans in a bid to trap speeding drivers.

Figures released by 36 of 45 UK police forces following a Freedom of Information request found that four have no fixed speed cameras at all and 13 have fewer than half that are actually switched on.

In this region, the Cleveland force area has two fixed cameras, but Durham and North Yorkshire don’t have any.

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The Cleveland fixed cameras were described as inactive for the survey which was compiled by the Press Association.

Chief Inspector Graham Milne, from the Cleveland and Durham specialist operations unit, said: “Fixed speed camera sites are still a tactical option within the Cleveland Force area to address speeding complaints.

“Fixed cameras have never been used in the Durham area, however, as mobile speed cameras and speed camera vans provide more versatility in terms of monitoring speeds at key locations and chosen sites which are identified through collision statistics and community concerns.

“These are our preferred methods of enforcing speeding offences across both areas.”

A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police said: “Mobile cameras are a more flexible resource that can be used in lots of different situations and are more responsive to the needs of local communities.”

AA President Edmund King said the high number of inactive cameras was down to pressure on budgets.

He said: "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 for road safety charity 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 put back into action."