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DoT launches roads policing consultation to reduce fatalities


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A national roads police force could be part of plans to cut the number of road deaths, according to a government review.

DoT launches roads policing consultation to reduce fatalities


Date - 14th July 2020
By - Chris Smith
1 Comment1 Comment}


The Department for Transport has launched a roads policing consultation aimed at cutting the £36bn cost of fatalities on Britain’s roads every year.

According to government figures, there are an average of five fatalities and 68 serious injuries every day and since 2010 this has remained relatively constant figure.

The DoT's call for evidence published yesterday is part of a wider review of roads policing in England and Wales. Replies will be collated and a summary of responses will be published late in 2020.

Responses are will be fed into the roads policing review which will be considering information from a variety of sources including:

  • a report by HMICFRS who have recently completed the field work for a thematic inspection of roads policing in 7 police forces
  • information collected through interviews with key people in all the police forces not subject to the HMICFRS inspection and some partner agencies
  • responses to a survey of police officers and staff launched at the Police Federation of England and Wales National Roads Policing Conference in January 2020. 

The consultation points out that the UK road network transcends the local geographical boundaries of police forces making it easier for criminals to use the road network to commit offences.

Also incidents which cause major disruption on the Strategic Road Network, such as fatal collisions, can cause consequent disruption across a number of  police force areas requiring a response to be co-ordinated.

The consultation points to the variety of road policing models in other countries with some having national agencies and others a mix of local and regional provision,

"With so many different international approaches we would like to understand if our current roads policing structure is still the most effective approach," the consultation asks.

Roads lobbyists are claiming that the review will pre-empt criticism by HM Inspectorate of roads policing. Its report is expected to say that enforcement has been cut back, is unfocused and fails to match the level of public harm caused by road traffic offences including drug driving.

The evidence is likely to also form part of the department's bid for funding that will go into the Treasury for the Comprehensive Spending Review, which is now under way. 

“This call for evidence seeks to identify what makes a difference and how the capability and capacity of enforcement services can be enhanced,” said Transport Minister Baroness Vere.

Road safety campaigners welcomed the call for evidence of what worked in saving lives on the roads.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is calling for changes including for Chief Constables to take advantage of the uplift recruitment of 20,000 new officers to increase the number of roads policing officers.

David Davies, Executive Director of PACTS, said: “A review of roads policing is long overdue. The number of roads police officers has declined considerably, particularly over the past decade. Those officers remaining often undertaken multiple roles and public safety has lost out. Roads policing is vital, not only to save lives but also to disrupt other criminality. There is a strong overlap in these offences and it is remarkable that successive ministers have seemed not to recognise this.”

Police forces are increasingly telling the government that they cannot enforce their way out of problems that are rooted in societal attitudes that need a dialogue with the public.

PACTS said roads policing was another example where officers were limited in what they can achieve.

Mr Davies said: “Roads policing is not something to turn to when engineering and education fail. These interventions only work when delivered together. Seat belts are an excellent example of vehicle safety engineering and media campaigns have helped to persuade the vast majority of drivers and passengers to comply with the law.”

He added: “However, some 31% of people who died in vehicles in the UK in 2018 were not wearing a seat belt. The paltry penalty and sharp cuts in enforcement have almost certainly contributed. Drivers recognise and respond to changes in levels of enforcement.”

To take part in the consultation, email your responses to: [email protected]

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It's about time that this was seriously looked into and why this was never considered to begin with when the motorways were first built is baffling. 

Businesses utilising service stations or working on the road network could also pay a precept into the specialist roads policing budget just as TOCs do now for BTP, this could be a large saving for the tax payer with a part privately funded force. 

It makes perfect sense to look into this. 

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I would not be a great supporter. At the moment the Traffic Departments already cover all roads but are also freely available for any Police duty.  The Motorway, since their inception have had dedicated Motorway Patrol Units but they could always be utilised and call, on to deal with other matters. Just that managing accidents and incidents on the Motorway needs a specialist knowledge and, as we used to pout it a pair of spiked running shoes.

We already have Highways Officers on the Motorway but they have very limited powers.

Edited by Zulu 22
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If only there was a Dedicated Force that concentrated on transport networks, maybe even if  ‘transport’ was in their name 🤷🏻‍♂️

Edited by Ether
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It is impossible to divorce Transport,  Criminal use and Policing. They are intertwined too closely.  Would we really want an American system of Policing, With State Troopers, Sherrifs,City Police,  State Police, all deciding who has the authority. Why would we change when our Policing is a model for the World. It is being spoiled by the constant Politicalisation when it should be independent.

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It’s a confusing introduction to the consultation but perhaps it’s because it’s a confusing issue.  It reads as a mix of road safety then talks about the strategic road network and then other crimes as well as limited resources and perhaps the most complex and important one is the interaction between road related agencies. 
Perhaps a safety and financial based outcome would be to focus on the strategic road network or at least part of it!  We know that the SRN isn’t just motorways, not even dual carriageways but a lot of Single carriageway  A class roads.  So a much wider remit than the HATOs cover.

no easy answers, especially when they are not even sure of what question to pose!

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