The number of motorists completing speed awareness courses has soared by a third in the past five years, with police forces now pulling in more than £50 million annually from the schemes, new figures have revealed.Last year around 1.2 million drivers opted to attend a course rather than accept a fine or penalty points on their licence.That was up from just 280,000 a decade ago and means a quarter of all British drivers have now been on a speed awareness course at some point.The four-hour classroom based tutorials cost between £75 and £99, depending where in the country you are, with police forces permitted to claim a maximum of £45 from that figure to cover administration costs.The amount of money the police are allowed to claim was increased in October 2017, and comes at a time when all forces are having to cope with shrinking budgets. Speed cameras are catching a record number of motorists A spokesman for the National Police Chief’s Council said: “More drivers are attending these courses as an alternative to prosecution. The course aims to educate motorists to improve their knowledge and behaviour whilst on the road, and is designed to contribute to reducing deaths and casualties.“These courses are offered to people who commit low level traffic offences. Police forces do not make money from the courses; they only receive processing costs.”But Hugh Bladon, of the Alliance of British Drivers, disagreed that the police were not receiving income.He said: “Police forces are clearly making money from these courses. There is obviously an incentive for the motorist who does not want to get points, but there is clearly an incentive for the police forces, and that is to make money.”The police are almost acting like judge and jury and it does not seem to me to be correct.” Forces are not supposed to profit from the schemes, but campaigners claim the huge rise in the number of motorists attending, is evidence of the clear financial incentive for the police to funnel speeders towards them. In 2011 around 1.5 million drivers were caught speeding with some 19 per cent opting to attend a speed awareness course.But by 2017 that figure had rocketed to 2 million drivers caught with 50 per cent choosing a course over points.It means that last year police forces around the country pulled in approximately £54 million from the schemes. Speed awareness courses cost around £90 but the driver avoids a fine and points Claire Armstrong of the Safe Speed campaign group also questioned whether the speed awareness courses did anything to improve road safety. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.