CIVILIAN speed camera operators are the latest victims of Tasmania Police's increasingly desperate financial plight.
The expensive pieces of speedster-nabbing equipment will now be switched to "automatic", says police management.
That has raised RACT concerns that covert camera placements will make drivers much more likely to be nabbed without knowing it.
"We would much prefer to see a high-visibility strategy as that's what acts as the greatest deterrent to dangerous road behaviour," RACT spokesman Vince Taskunas said.
The dwindling civilian operator crew, which was already slashed by four members at the start of this financial year, were summoned to a meeting at Bellerive Police Station on Monday and informed there would be no jobs from July 1.
The non-police operators, who can regularly be seen parked beside busy roadways and in areas where speeding has been deemed a serious problem, were told their positions "would not be valid after the end of the current financial year" as there was "no budget for speed camera operators".
Deputy Commissioner Scott Tilyard told a Budget estimates hearing in July that speed camera hours would be down this year compared with last year.
Mr Tilyard also revealed there were problems with the camera equipment and said a tender was being advertised to replace that.
Police Minister David O'Byrne says the upcoming lack of civilian operators at a time when front-line police numbers are also being slashed will not send the wrong message to lead-footed Tasmanian motorists.
"No driver should think this decision reduces their chances of getting caught speeding," he said last night. If they take that risk, it will cost them."
Assistant Commissioner Donna Adams said the technology was effective without an operator but said police on occasion might be deployed to use the cameras "in accordance with Tasmania Police's high-visibility policing strategy".
The RACT is questioning the reasoning behind a decision to potentially leave very expensive equipment unattended on the roadside when the police department is already suffering financially.
"In an environment of such budgetary constraints is that a risk worth taking?" Mr Taskunas said.
"But that's a matter for police."