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In what has been touted as a major anti-corruption measure, the Armenian police will start operating next Monday the first surveillance cameras in Yerevan designed to detect and punish traffic violations.

The police released on Tuesday the list of ten key street intersections in the Armenian capital fitted with such cameras.

They are supposed to be primarily used against vehicles running a red or yellow light in gross violation of traffic rules. Car owners would be notified of hefty fines with traffic tickets sent by mail.

The police said they have also installed speed cameras on about a dozen Yerevan thoroughfares where traffic is particularly heavy. The speed limit for cars within Yerevan and other Armenian cities and towns is normally set at 60 kilometers (37.5 miles) per hour.

The development is part of a gradual introduction of a centralized road surveillance system that was announced by the Armenian government in July. The government said some 280 digital cameras will be installed across Armenia by 2017.

Artur Osikian, a deputy chief of the national police service, announced at the time that the Swedish company Sensys Traffic will spend about 10 million euros ($13 million) to set up the system and operate it for the next 25 years. He said Sensys will recoup its investments by receiving at least half of the proceeds from traffic tickets.

Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian stressed the importance of the video policing during a July 2011 session of his cabinet. He said it will boost road safety and reduce “corruption risks.”

The Armenian traffic police have until now used only mobile radars and digital cameras placed in cars patrolling streets and highways. Officers are required to turn them on while on duty.

The equipment was installed in virtually all patrol cars in 2009. Although bribery among police officers remains commonplace, many motorists say that their chances of being unfairly fined have decreased since then.

The equipment purchase was part of a five-year government plan to make Armenian roads safer for car drivers and pedestrians. The effort led to a significant toughening of traffic fines and a crackdown on the widespread and long-standing non-use of safety belts.
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