Police forces are being accused of using motorists as ‘cash cows’ after their fees for speed awareness courses jumped by more than 25 per cent.
The amount received by a constabulary for each person it sends on a course rose from £35 to £45 last month.
The cash is designated to police forces by the Treasury to cover the costs of catching speeding motorists. Chief constables spend the money as they see fit.
With around 1.2 million drivers attending speed awareness courses annually, police forces will now collect £54m each year.
Forces receive millions of pounds more from the 200,000 road users attending the several other courses run under the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) umbrella.
Courses may be offered to offenders at the discretion of police forces and attendance means offenders will avoid penalty points on their licence and a fine.
Analysis of course costs shows huge differences in what drivers can expect to pay depending on where they live.
Hugh Bladon of the Alliance of British Drivers claimed it was clear by the huge numbers taking part, that police forces were generating significant amounts of revenue from the schemes.
He said: “The incentive is clearly there for the police to get people onto these courses because they benefit financially. It does not accord with what our definition of justice is in the UK.
“It almost works like a bribe, saying to motorists we would give you the points but sign up to this course and you can avoid them.”
Clair Armstrong of the group Safe Speed, also said it was nonsense to suggest speed awareness courses were about anything but making money.
She said: "These course are using the police as a sales mechanism for the speed camera industry. It is so far from being about road safety that they should be embarrassed.
"It's high time we got police back on the roads rather than using automated cameras to enforce average speed limits which do nothing for road safety.
"Motorists are being bribed into doing these courses that are not improving road safety. It is a huge scam.”
A spokesman for NDORS said course providers tried to absorb as much of the 29 per cent rise in the police cost recovery fee as possible, meaning speed awareness courses went up by an average of less than £1 last month to £88.90.
A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman said: ‘Forces do not profit from these courses and the financial model provides for cost recovery only.’