Road safety organisation Brake says the cameras are vital to reduce speeding and to cut accidents. Its comments came as an RAC Foundation/Autocar report showed that nearly three-quarters of motorists polled would turn a blind eye to speed camera vandalism.
In recent months, growing numbers of cameras have been pulled down, set on fire or covered up by activists who claim they unfairly penalise drivers for minor speeding offences.
Mary Williams, Brake chief executive, said: 'The RAC report is scaremongering. Speed cameras are an effective means of preventing speeding and it is a rogue minority who are against them.'
The RAC Foundation calls for drivers caught by speed cameras to be sent on speed awareness courses as an alternative to receiving penalty points on their licences. It also suggests a wider strategy should be implemented to combat speeding, including a review of current speed limits and interactive speed signs.
Edmund King, executive director at the RAC Foundation, said: 'There is a role for camera enforcement at traffic lights and accident blackspots but we should certainly not rejoice at a million-plus prosecutions. The camera should be one weapon in the police armoury, rather than the entire arsenal.'
The report comes at a time when an increasing number of drivers are turning to speed camera warning devices. Road safety organisations have criticised their use but product manufacturers say they can be a useful safety measure for fleets.
A spokesman at Cyclops, which produces such devices, said: 'Since Cyclops was launched last October we have experienced a huge growth in demand. Cyclops is a positive driving aid to promote sensible, responsible and safe driving. As regards vandalism, Cyclops is specifically designed to work alongside safety cameras, so vandalising them would be pointless.'