Speed controls 'to be privatised'

Unmarked cars could patrol streets more regularly under plans to outsource operation

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The number of speeding tickets issued looks set to soar as the government is planning to privatise its fleet of unmarked radar cars.

Intended to free up police and gendarmes for other work, the move could mean up to 12million tickets could be issued each year, 10 times more than the current figure, while drivers’ groups say that the additional fines revenue could be worth €2.2billion.

Interior Minister Gérard Collomb has now voiced his support the plan, which was first publicised in February. He said: "To allow police and gendarmes to concentrate on their primary tasks of investigations and security, the principle of entrusting material aspects of speed control to external companies is a relevant solution."

He pointed out that local authorities invite private companies to tender for work.

There are currently 400 unmarked radar cars on the roads in France, but work pressures mean that gendarmes only use the vehicles for an hour a day. Private companies would be able to patrol the roads more frequently. Radar cars will be used to ‘police’ major routes and accident blackspots.

Mr Collomb insisted that the issuing of tickets would 'remain within the competence of the police' and said that private contractors "will be remunerated on a flat-rate basis and not according to the number of tickets issued".

The number of people killed on French roads increased for the third consecutive year in 2016, with 3,477 deaths on the roads. Authorities have said that speed is the primary factor in one in three fatal collisions.