What goes around, comes around
Road rage at cameras
By SUSIE O'BRIEN, industrial reporter
SPEED camera operators face daily road rage, with some even followed home by irate motorists.
The Community and Public Sector Union yesterday accused the State Government of failing to protect Victoria's 80 private camera operators because they are not police officers.
CPSU spokesman Julian Kennelly said operators experienced abuse "almost every shift, every day, every hour".
"We have many of our female officers that are just now blatantly refusing to take evening shifts because of the intimidation," he said.
"It is at low levels, like cars slowing down and gesturing with hands, or fingers across the throat, right down to following officers home following the shift and sitting outside their house for extended periods of time."
PASSERS-BY held a motorist down until police arrived after he assaulted a camera operator.
A MOTORIST pulled up next to a camera, walked to the operator and knocked him to the ground.
MOTORISTS remove their number plates and drive by cameras, throwing objects.
The rising level of abuse comes as more than one million speed camera fines are now issued each year, raising $140 million for the State Government.
Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said the growing level of abuse reflected the revenue-raising use of speed cameras.
"People are starting to react to the way these cameras are used and their placement on busy roads at peak hour or at the bottom of hills," he said.
Premier Steve Bracks yesterday told 3AW radio he would ensure any reported abuse of operators was taken seriously.
Victoria Police Superintendent Peter Keogh said about one report of abuse of camera operators is received a month, but that didn't include less serious incidents.
George Svigos, spokesman for Police Minister Andre Haermeyer, said there was "no excuse for assaults on someone" and accused the Opposition of condoning violence.