A CONCERNED councillor and Speedwatch volunteer has lambasted a new hi-tech speed camera as “draconian”.

The Tendring Community Safety Partnership has bought a new £8,500 Trucam to be used by police officers.

The hi-tech camera, which can automatically send penalty notices to offenders, will be used by officers working with local Speedwatch groups across the district.

Previous cameras could only be used to advise drivers of their speed, but the new equipment can be used to automatically send out fines and also captures video and still images of drivers.

It can also detect other offences such as people not wearing a seatbelt or motorists using a mobile phone while driving.

Hamford ward councillor Anne Davis hit out at the decision to buy the camera.

She said: “Since becoming a regular Speedwatch volunteer, I’ve been much more aware of my own speed.

“Driving along a seemingly quiet road with no obstructions, it is very easy to exceed the limit, either consciously thinking that it’s safe to do so – or simply being unaware of the speed dial creeping up.

“I am often sympathetic when drivers get caught with the Speedwatch camera and hope that the camera itself acts as a deterrent alongside the letter that speeders will receive.

“Up until now, a warning letter – relatively toothless – is a reminder that speed limits exit for a purpose and that future infringement may result in a fine.

“However, being nabbed with the new Trucam is a very different story.

“The effects are positively draconian in relation to what has gone before.

“If you are recorded as speeding by the new camera, you may be given the option of attending a safer driving course – at a cost of £150 – or failing that, a fixed penalty notice fine and three points on your licence.

“A further result of this will be increased insurance premiums of £70 per year, per endorsement.

“We all want safer roads and Speedwatch is intended to promote that aim, as much as bringing offenders to book.”

Insp Darren Deex, of the Tendring community policing team, previously said the use of the camera reflects the significant advances made in technology and the law to enforce speeding offences in the district.

He added: “Speeding kills and this is another tactical option for us to use to prevent telling another family that their loved ones won’t be coming home.”