Photo-radar controversy dings police budget

A steep decline in scofflaw speeders after recent controversy over photo radar has caused police revenues to take a hit, Winnipeg's top cop says.

$5 million less than last year: McCaskill

  A steep decline in scofflaw speeders after recent controversy regarding photo radar has caused police revenues to take a hit, Winnipeg's top cop said Thursday.


Winnipeg Police Service chief Keith McCaskill told city councillors recent forecasts of photo-radar speeding ticket revenue shows an expected 30-per-cent decline.

McCaskill said police will issue 52,000 fewer photo-radar tickets this year, cutting revenues by just under $5 million.

The total amount of tickets expected to be issued is just under 104,000, down from nearly 168,000 last year.

McCaskill called the dip "considerable" and said he thinks it's prompted by recent controversy and public debate over how the city issued some photo-radar tickets.  

Under provincial law, the city can only use photo radar in construction and school zones.

But in May, the province announced it was dropping about 860 outstanding tickets after learning of improper sign placement in construction zones where photo radar was being used.

A sign telling drivers of the lower speed had only been placed at the beginning of the construction zones. By law, there should have been another at the end of the affected zone.

It was the furor over the illegally issued tickets that prompted the public to pay more attention to their driving habits, McCaskill said.

"There was a lot of debate, in the paper, in the media, probably in coffee shops everywhere," McCaskill said. "I think the awareness level has increased considerably."

He also said a Winnipeg police public-awareness campaign to curb speeding on city streets has also had an impact.

It's not clear how the city will make up the revenue shortfall.