WE know that speed kills and speed is dangerous – the words seemingly said without shame by Thames Valley Police yesterday as it trumpeted the switch-on of Oxfordshire’s speed cameras next Friday.

If it was not said following a 50 per cent rise in deaths on our county’s roads while the cameras have been switched off, you would almost laugh.

But this is no laughing matter.

Six more people have died on our roads than for the same period the previous year, while more people have also been badly hurt.

Last July this newspaper castigated the police when Oxfordshire County Council withdrew its funding for the organisation that runs speed cameras in the Thames Valley.

We argued that, away from the political machinations of who pays for what, the force had a statutory and moral duty to ensure speed enforcement was maintained at the same level in Oxfordshire as the other two counties where the councils were still ‘buying’ services it covered.

The result is more misery on our roads than last year. You could argue about statistics but yesterday the police were using the increase in deaths as the justification for resuming speed enforcement.

The words of Thames Valley Police Authority’s Ian Abbott are similarly just an insult.

He’s apparently happy the level of road safety will now be the same across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire – but where was the police authority ensuring that the force was doing this last August? It too has failed its citizens.

And let’s not let Oxfordshire County Council slink away from taking its share of responsibility either.

But still, our police force is there to ensure laws are enforced.

Last July we said this scandalous situation could turn out to be a dereliction of duty. We have been proved tragically right.