Speed cameras are to disappear from Wiltshire after a decision to axe the county group that operates them.

The Wiltshire and Swindon Camera Safety Partnership will close in the autumn with a loss of 40 jobs.

A spokesman said a 27 per cent budget cut from the Department of Transport to local authorities and a likely withdrawal of all funding for next year has forced the move.

Assistant Chief Constable Patrick Geenty the chairman of the partnership, which is made up of Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Police, said: “This has been a very difficult decision and one that the partners have agonised over because we are of course committed to continuing to improve road safety.

"We are providing as much support as we can to the staff involved and their families and will continue to do so.

"These are good people who have provided an excellent service to the public of Wiltshire.

He added: “The statistics for Wiltshire & Swindon show that over the past four years (between January 2006 and the end of December 2009) there was a 33 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads however speed is still a contributory factor in the cause of most serious accidents in spite of the fact that we remain one of the safest counties in the country for road safety and the UK itself is one of the safest countries in the EU.

"Both local authorities and Wiltshire police will continue to exert as much influence on driver behaviour and mindset as possible, and we will continue to seek to encourage people to take responsibility for both their own driving behaviour and that of others.

"An important part of this process will be to promote speed awareness and to impress on all drivers that it has always been the case that they should think of the consequences of their actions and how easy it is when in a car to kill or injure or to be killed or injured."

ACC Geenty added: “Drivers should not think it is now safe for them to break the law and I want to emphasise that the Police will continue to vigorously enforce speed limits across the county and promote safe driving.

"This will include the use of marked and unmarked Police vehicles used by trained roads policing officers, by trained Special Constables and Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

"Community Speed Watch groups will also continue to contribute towards safe driving and enforcement through their activity across the county.

Although the exact date for closure of the unit has not been established at this time we believe that it will be towards the end of October this year and that this will be a phased process.

"Motorists should be aware that any drivers already in the system having exceeded the speed limits and who have not already been dealt with will still be processed in the normal way.

"It is important to remember that Mobile safety camera speed enforcement is only one part of overall speed enforcement which includes education and engineering all of which will continue as Public safety remains a strong priority for us all.

"Our Core speeding sites and those causing community concerns will continue to be addressed by police officer patrols as they are now."