Why no speed cameras?

In 1839 William Fox-Talbot invented the salt print photographic process, ironically in Wiltshire, at Lacock, and was ably assisted by our own MP at the time, Nevil Story-Maskelyn.

Unfortunately Wiltshire Police don’t seem to have caught up with this discovery.

In 12 years I have dismally failed in leading a campaign to get modern, combined red light and speed cameras installed on Thamesdown Drive.

Now strangely, a bit like the magic money tree, we have suddenly discovered thousands of police officers with nothing to do beyond standing around with handheld radar.

In the last week we have had at least one accident, and reports (SA, May 15) of lunchtime drivers travelling at variously 90 mph, 75 mph and 70 mph … no surprise at all to local residents and please don’t mention the motorbikes!

Having two officers with handheld guns, often with another waiting in a car, is the modern-day equivalent of using the pony express rather than email, and I thought police officers were in short supply?

Modern Truvelo D cameras record both speed AND adherence to red traffic lights, operate remotely, are low maintenance and cost-effective, as only a few are needed and can be moved around in dummy boxes.

For years Angus Macpherson, Justin Tomlinson and David Renard have blamed each other for the lack of cameras.

The reasons consistently trotted out is that maintenance is down to the council but the fines go to the Ministry of Justice.

This ’so-called’ financial question is easily soluble. Instead of a victim surcharge which goes nowhere, a beefed up ‘speed safety awareness surcharge’ could be hypothecated to the camera operators.

The surcharge would also go to the many enlightened constabularies across the country, who have kept in place their camera partnerships at significant expense.

The borough council had even ring fenced £140,000 of capital, from developer contributions, which they then frittered away on CCTV, or what we call up here “home movies”.

The cost of clearing up each collision involves several police vehicles, often ambulances and NHS resource, and always damage to infrastructure at crossings, but luckily so far, only three fatalities.

In 1998 my late son, Corrie, was fined £40 for travelling at 44 miles an hour recorded by the camera set up on Hayden End bridge.

Twenty two years later, motorists routinely ignore red lights and hurtle along at 90 mph without a care in the world. Progress?

John Stooke

Havisham Drive

Forgotten Mary Seacole

I respond to the supplement of Florence Nightingale ( SA,May 12). One of the nurses who travelled to the Crimea was a nurse by the name of Mary Seacole, born in Jamica in 1805 at the outbreak of the Crimea war, she arrived in London and so eager was she to join Florence Nightingale in the Crimea she applied for an interview with the secretary of war Sydney Herbert.

Undeterred by his refusal to meet, she travelled alone to the Crimea where she set up and built the “ British Hotel “and in doing so treated and made comfortable sick and wounded soldiers. Like Florence Nightingale Mary is known as a pioneer of nursing hence why there is a statue of her at St Thomas hospital in London and why there are hospital wards across the UK named after her. In 2004 she was voted the greatest ever black Briton, so I have to ask the question why hasn’t she been recognised has much in the media as Florence Nightingale has been of late ?

Martin Webb

Old Town