Scottish police warn plan to cut speed cameras will risk lives

Scotland’s top police officers have said they would be concerned if funding for speed cameras became a victim of government budget cuts.

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) spoke out toady after its sister organisation claimed lives would be put at risk as a result of UK Government spending cuts to the network south of the border.

Mick Giannasi, who leads on road policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), which represents officers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said he was trying to persuade Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers to protect the cameras “for the future of our road safety”.

Last month it emerged that Oxfordshire County Council was switching off all 72 of its fixed speed cameras as part of moves to save money, with other local authorities south of the border are also considering similar action. The UK Government cut £38million from this year’s road safety budget and ended central funding for speed cameras.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of road-safety charity Brake echoed the calls. She said: “We agree with Mick Giannasi that if we do see speed cameras removed on a large scale, which seems likely to happen, it’s going to be a devastating blow to road safety. We know that cameras are very effective in cutting speeding which is vital for protecting all road users.”

Having seen the devasting results of reckless driving, Bonnar & Company echoes the views of road safety expertsspeed kills.

If you or a member of your family have been involved in a road traffic accident caused by a speeding driver please contact our personal injury specialists for FREE expert legal advice and practical assistance. For a no obligation review of your claim please call freephone 0800 163 978. 

Dog attacks in Edinburgh hit record high

Incredibly, more than 100 dog attacks have taken place in Edinburgh during the past six months, including one where a 12-month-old baby was bitten, it was revealed today.

The shocking figure, which includes attacks against children, adults and other animals, is twice the amount recorded in the whole of 2009 and clearly highlights a growing and very serious problem. The figures show that only one of the dogs involved in the 102 attacks recorded since January 1 was on a lead and all but 36 of the incidents happened in public spaces such as on roads and pavements, in parks or in open fields

Last year 52 dog attacks were recorded by Lothian and Borders police. In 2008 around 43 attacks were reported. The attacks this year included 26 bites to children, 30 to adults and 39 to other dogs. Four cats and two swans were killed. A one-year-old was bitten and a toddler was also attacked but only around 12 people were charged for owning dangerous animals and only two of the animals were put down.

Scottish SPCA Chief Inspector Mike Flynn today said the number – which is the highest in at least five years – showed that people needed to drastically change their attitudes to owning and training dogs.

He said the new Control of Dogs Bill, set to come into force next year, was a much-needed change to the law and would ensure owners kept their pets under control. However, his use of the word ‘pet’ to describe for example a pit bull bred for fighting is a complete misnomer as these dogs are primarily status symbols used to intimidate and terrorise.     

At present, making a claim for compensation following a dog attack in Scotland can be difficult as the process is often hampered by the problem of identifying the owner and proving that the animal is dangerous.

Bonnar & Company believes that the passing of the Control of Dogs Bill in Scotland is a welcome step in helping innocent victims of dog attacks in Scotland achieve justice and financial compensation for their injuries because it means that every dog, every owner and every location, including previously ‘exempt’ private homes, will now be included in the provisions of the new Act, which will come into force next February.

If you or  a member of your family would like to discuss your legal options arisng from a dog attack, then please call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for a no obligation case review.

BP to offer one-off payments if claimants waive right to sue

In the hope of drawing  a line under the crisis and in an attempt to quantify total costs, BP has announced its intention to cap its liabilities from the Gulf of Mexico disaster by offering those affected one-off compensation payouts in return for them waiving the right to sue.

Tens of thousands of affected people in the Gulf, particularly those in the fishing and tourism industries, are weeks away from bankruptcy but it is very difficult to calculate future lost earnings. There is also no way for claimants to know if they can expect more compensation if they sue BP in the courts…but that, of course, would appear to be the idea.

Ken Feinberg, who was appointed by the White House in June to administer the claims process on behalf of BP, will take charge within the next three weeks. BP has committed to pay $20bn into the fund in a series of instalments over the next three and a half years. When he takes over this month, for the first time claimants will be offered a one-off sum based on their future lost earnings, provided they agree not to sue BP as the company seeks to re-build its reputation.

“The fund will offer lump sum payments in return for an agreement not to pursue claims in court,” a spokeswoman said. Claimants will also be able to receive an emergency payout to cover their lost income for up to six months without waiving their right to sue BP. Claims from those directly affected by the spill, such as fishermen, will qualify but uncertainty surrounds those more indirectly affected. For example, many owners of beach apartments in Florida – even where no oil hit the shore – face bankruptcy because holidaymakers stayed away. It seems that a scheme designed to simplify and fast-track compensation payments may not be quite so simple after all.

In our view in its highly regrettable that the media spotlight continues to be targeted at the environmental cost of the oil spill whilst the 11 workers who died in the explosion receive scarcely a single reference by comparison. Let’s hope that the fate of the wrongful death and personal injury compensation claims on behalf of the victims’ families is monitored with the same level of scrutinty as the thousands of loss of earnings claims.