By Constantinos Psillides
SPEED cameras in Grivas Dhigenis Avenue in Nicosia will be officially operational on June 2, police said on Saturday.
According to a police press release, the cameras will begin test recording violations on Monday, May 26 but will not be officially online until June.
The speed cameras, that were installed three weeks ago, recorded 2,000 violations over a single test weekend although nobody was prosecuted or fined.
The speed limit on that particular stretch of road, a residential area, is 50 km/h.
The avenue is regularly used as a racing strip by young drivers, especially over the weekends, much to the frustration of nearby residents.
The cameras will be operated by police officers, unlike the rest of the planned traffic camera network that will be set up in early 2015 all over the island.
By the end of July the communications ministry will be putting together a tender, aiming to have the new system up and running by February 2015.
The traffic camera network, with the exception of the pair installed in Grivas Dighenis, will be run by a private contractor. Upon registering a violation, the contractor will notify police, who in turn will issue a fine and locate the offender.
The plan is for the camera network not to cost anything to the taxpayer. The contractor would pay for the equipment and installation.
Installing traffic cameras dates back almost a decade. After heated debates, mainly focused on personal data protection, a network was set up in 2006 but was quickly discarded. The cameras had numerous problems, including a failure to store photographs and extensive bureaucracy that in some cases resulted in fining a person twice for the same violation while letting others go unpunished.
The cameras were taken down in 2007, and in 2008 it was announced that new cameras would be put up by 2010. In 2011 the Tender Review Board challenged the specifications outlined in the process and cancelled the government’s plan for the fifth time. Failing to find a way of effectively setting up the system, the government decided to outsource the venture to a private firm.