Road Safety News
 

Civilian road patrols to get ‘police powers’

Wednesday 1st February 2017

The Government is considering giving civilian road patrols the power to fine motorists who are spotted breaking the law, several media outlets are reporting.

In a news article published yesterday (31 Jan), the Times says hundreds of traffic officers would be given broader powers, traditionally reserved for police, in an effort to strengthen the deterrent for motorists who speed or use their mobile phone while driving.

Yahoo News says the idea has been met with mixed reactions, endorsed by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) but criticised by the Police Federation.

Affectionately nicknamed ‘traffic wombles’, there are currently more than 1,500 uniformed Highways England staff who monitor Britain’s motorways and A-roads. However, this number would increase if the plan goes ahead.

These patrols were initially introduced in 2004 and tasked with keeping traffic flowing during traffic jams and crashes. However, while it is an offence to ignore their instructions, they currently do not have the power to arrest people for driving crimes – something that would change in the proposed shake-up.

Chief constable Suzette Davenport, NPCC lead on roads policing, told the Police Federation roads policing conference: “Some of these ambitions could be delivered by enabling Highways England traffic officers to have some extra powers.

“It is not something that is a done deal but it is something that we are exploring.

“My desire is to get the maximum safety and security on our roads.”

However, critics of the proposals say that road safety is too important to be taken out of the hands of traffic police.

Tim Rogers, Police Federation, said: “If you are looking at providing something as important as roads policing, having people who are potentially unaccountable to the chief constable would be a bad thing.

“Dealing with road deaths, dangerous drivers and other risks on our major road networks is a job for the police and not a private company.

“It would also mean the Highways England officers may no longer be available to do the work they were brought in for, such as clearing debris and dealing with minor collisions.”

According to Yahoo News, a Government spokesman said a consultation would be conducted before any decisions were made.

Photo: Highways England via Flickr 


Related stories

Fall in road crimes attributed to ‘fewer specialist traffic officers’
15 March 2016

Traffic police cut by a third since 2010
12 January 2016


 

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Useful ref re parking on pavements - House of Commons library Briefing paper Number SN01170, 10 February 2016. But enough on this point.
Pat, Wales

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

Parking on the footpath is an offence. Several may have been committed. Under the Highways Act its an offence to wilfully obstruct the Highway and that includes the pavement. Also it an offence if there is a yellow line beside on the road. Finally there is the offence of driving on the pavement which is only allowed when one is legally gaining access to private land such as over the kerb and into ones house or garden.

When it comes to the post office vehicles they were years ago considered Crown vehicles ie owned by the Crown and therefore could not commit any offence. Under private ownership now I don't know if thats applicable today.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (1) | Disagree (5)
-4

I didn't think parking on the footway was normally a specific offence (apart from in parts of London?). Causing obstruction by parking is, but that's slightly different. Perhaps that's why the police use discretion about such parking. Sometimes there's not as many absolutes as one might like.
Pat, Wales

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

Hazel, if they are actually breaking the law, then no it is not alright. But whether they are breaking the law, or not, surely depends on what the parking restrictions are and what the HA staff are there for, similarly for the police, local authority and utility company workers and delivery company drivers including Royal Mail staff.
Charles, England

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

So it is alright for the Highways England staff to break the law by parking on the footway and blocking it for pedestrians?
Hazel - East Yorkshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)
0

I understand your point of view, Hugh. But I suggest you should not feel that (roughly as you put it) IAM and police drivers go charging about the place. If you refer to my last paragraph the reverse if often the case. There are probably more instances than not when such drivers will hold back in general traffic conditions where others will go through.

On the matter of overtaking you have reflected more than once that in your view it is by nature a risky operation. I have been studying road driving for over 40 years, always with the emphasis on safety, and I can say quite categorically that safe and considerate overtaking is perfectly feasible, but only if people care to study and understand it properly at the right time. Unfortunately, most do not any interest in the subject and I suppose that falls neatly into your court that most overtakes you see are likely to be vulnerable in some way or another and many do practice what might called anti-social overtaking. But if as a promoter of road safety your prime concern is just about safety itself then I feel there are certain elements on which we will agree to differ.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (2) | Disagree (3)
-1

Unfortunately we seem to have moved away from the theme of the news item (thanks to the editor for indulging us) but I think discussing driving techniques generally is a good thing on this forum and perhaps there should be more of it.

Nigel - I suspect you're an advocate of 'progessive driving' as it is sometimes called, which the IAM and Police endorse but which I don't necessarily support, as I think it can create a mindset which, in my view, is not condusive to safety on the road. Overtaking cyclists, farm vehicles or other slow moving vehicle (relative to the road) is one thing and I don't have a problem with that, but a vehicle ahead which is moving at the optimum speed for the road should not be seen as a target vehicle to be overtaken - it is this type of overtake which I see as undesirable, unecessary and inherently risky.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)
+4

I take your point, Hugh. But overtaking is not necessarily just on the open road, as it were, the same basic principles for safety, view, and stability apply for dealing with, for example, cyclists or even parked vehicles. No motorist is going to complete is going to be able to complete their driving life without overtaking at some time or another, so it's as well they learn to do it properly - that is safely.

You define overtaking in general terms as 'undesirable behaviour' but, in my view, it is far more undesirable to have inadequate space between vehicles. Close following is endemic (that is less than two seconds) and that's a far greater danger on the roads than someone who is enthusiastic about driving and seeks to be as safe as possible in all conditions. You also imply that overtaking by its nature is a risk activity. It doesn't have to be and if it is a risky operation you don't it. It's as simple as that.

For myself, given the choice, I would far rather travel with some who is has learned the art, is alert and making safe progress than with someone who is not fully on the ball and just drifting with the flow and probably following too closely anyway. In my view the latter is far more likely to be involved in a crash. And being safe is the primary point in my view.

However, such a driver is also likely to be slower than others in congested conditions and their spacial awareness and threat perception will also be much greater as will their self-discipline and restraint. The latter referring to situations where you hold off and wait until it is clear and safe to continue with adequate spacing around you. Lack of restraint is also another important factor not widely found in the general public's driving but which is an another important safety element.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (2) | Disagree (1)
+1

I was just questioning the need to overtake at all Nigel, rather than the right or wrong way to do it. If the vehicle(s) ahead are travelling at about the average speed for the road/conditions there is no real benefit or reason to overtake and as I say, seems to be an unnecessary risk for a driver to take. My impression is that the serial speeders, tailgaters and overtakers could well be the same 'beast,' and if the police, or anyone so authorised, can act upon one of these examples of undesirable behaviour, then it could be a case of three for the price of one as it were!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (0) | Disagree (1)
-1

I take the main thrust of your points, Hugh. But the contact position is one that should be eased into as the opportunity for an overtake comes into play, or, as one advanced wing instructor once said, 'Then you see the opportunity, it's too late'. In other words you plan for when the opportunity is going to develop. You are not tailgating.

On your other point about suitable opportunities for overtaking on two-way traffic. It all depends on the type and nature of the roads - plus the weather conditions, of course. But I am afraid I would not agree with you that it should necessary be discouraged. It largely depends on the quality of the driver. There are many instances where it is more than safe to overtake in such conditions.

Your final point about the police car on the wrong side of a road on a bend, well given the sense of your description I am totally on your side (sic!). Unfortunately, the overall standard of police driving is not what it was by a long chalk, and particularly since the demise of the police driving schools (as opposed to the force driving schools, which is largely what you have today).
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

Sorry Rod but you are completely wrong in your statements in your first paragraph. Particularly when you say these may well effect some crashes. But it doesn't effect pedestrian safety, emissions for tyres/brakes or exhaust, doesn't effect many crashes and of course following distances is far more difficult to measure than speed.

First as Nigel states, some 30% of all crashes are front to rear end shunts. Those are the ones that are known of statistically and this is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. The vast majority of such collisions are not recorded. This of course is an assumption on my part so take it or leave it as you may wish.

Saying that it does not effect pedestrians is a blind statement. First,by tailgating the vision of the following car driver is seriously effected in that the driver has no knowledge of what is occurring in front of or to the sides of the vehicle in front. Two, his peripheral vision is also drastically reduced by his close proximity to the vehicle in front. He may be considered to be suffering from visual fixation. Other drivers and road users which include pedestrians may not see him as he is hidden behind another vehicle and they may inadvertently enter into the small space he has left in front of him and he, being unable to see them until the last second and unable to stop in such a short distance may collide with them.

If the safe following on position was assumed then the following on driver would now have sufficient space and forward vision to be able to see more if not all that is occurring in front of the forward vehicle and to the sides of it also. He would be in a better and safer position to take avoiding actions should he need to if say a pedestrian being now more visible was walking along the pavement and or waiting to cross. Any incident involving that person could be easily avoided. The pedestrian himself, with a greater and safer distance between vehicles could now have greater freedom to cross between vehicles or stay and await a better and safer time to cross.

When it come down to emissions then by not needing to accelerate and brake all the time but by merely keeping up with and keeping a safer distance a driver could in fact save a lot of monies on tyre wear, brakes and reduce the exhaust fumes considerably.

When it comes to distances then I agree that something needs to be done to assist the police. They can apparently act if a driver is within one and a half meters whilst overtaking a cyclist. Then why not tailgaters. The definition of tailgating must be to being so close to the rear of another vehicle that the driver could not guarantee stopping in the event of an emergency and on his own side of the road.

If ever an intervention was needed then this is it. Put and end to tailgating and for the Police Service to bring back the acceptable speeding limits down to that of the actual road and a normal speedometer and not this ridiculous one of add 10% plus 2 mph. This make a mockery of the law as it stands and flies in the face of road safety. It should never have been said or made public by the Chief of Police Officers Association as it encourages driver to exceed the default speed limits. No doubt there will be further discourse on this matter.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

Thought I'd mention that I've ticked the 'like' on Rod's comment as I agree with about 95% of what he said. Past forum comments show we disagree on a lot and may disagree on how to apply certain principles we agree on, but Rod's comment brings another useful dimension into the thread.
Pat, Wales

Agree (2) | Disagree (1)
+1

Fair comment, Hugh, but as you know drivers can be done for close following, and in my view this should be more actively enforced since 30% of all crashes involve front to rear end shunts - again because drivers can not pull up in the distance they can see to be clear. So in that case should they not be done on at least two counts? Close following; possibly the speeding one (because not every tailgater at that moment is exceeding the speed limit) and there presumably has to be something that can be done with aggressive driving behaviour, which can readily lead to inter-personal aggression. That last one ought to be nailed, instantly, at any time, in my view.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)
0

In an ideal world Nigel, both close following and speeding should be clamped down on I fully agree, but close following is subjective and I don't know in reality how many succesful prosecutions are brought by the police for this - speeding can at least be measured and there is more certainty of a succesful prosecution.

Going back to your comment on tailgating prior to overtaking - this can be intimidating and apart from being a risky manouvere, overtaking on single c/way roads - anything other than a particularly slow moving vehicle (which would be exceptional) - with respect, I don't think overtaking on such roads should be presented as being a routinely undertaken activity and if anything, should be discouraged rather than something that could be done with practice and skill - it's not really necessary and I think should be limited to dual c/ways and m/ways. (Possibly I'm still shaky from my recent episode of a police vehicle at speed, coming around the bend of a single c/way road on my side of the road, having almost fatally misjudged his overtake! Perhaps he hadn't read Road Craft)
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (3)
-1

There are some rather delusional comments here about the interaction of appropriate speed and appropriate following distance. These may well effect some crashes in some circumstances. But it doesn't effect pedestrian safety, emissions for tyres/brakes or exhaust, doesn't effect many crashes and of course following distance is far more difficult to measure than speed.

The point about any rule of the road is that non-compliers seek to justify it on the basis of their own experience. That is flawed because they do not see the effect of their actions. They assume that because they never had a collision on a journey then it was a safe journey. That may be the case, but it could have been an unsafe journey that didn't result in a crash. It may even have been a safe journey that was anti-social and abusive to the residents and community at large. It may have been "safe" but at the sort of speeds that bully pedestrians and cyclists off the road.

You may drive down a wide and very visible residential street at 30mph and feel there are no victims, but your speed is determining the perceived safety by parents for their children and the elderly for themselves.

Speed limits and the rules of the road are set at societal and community level. By all means campaign to have them set at whatever you feel is appropriate, but the whinging about the enforcing compliance to those limits betrays a lack of respect for community and community values as well as the law.
Rod King, Warrington, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (5)
+1

Fair comment, Hugh, but as you know drivers can be done for close following, and in my view this should be more actively enforced since 30% of all crashes involve front to rear end shunts - again because drivers can not pull up in the distance they can see to be clear. So in that case should they not be done on at least two counts? Close following; possibly the speeding one (because not every tailgater at that moment is exceeding the speed limit) and there presumably has to be something that can be done with aggressive driving behaviour, which can readily lead to inter-personal aggression. That last one ought to be nailed, instantly, at any time, in my view.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (2) | Disagree (3)
-1

Bob: Just to clarify - I wasn't suggesting that tailgating is ever necessary or justified, I was trying (unsuccesfully evidently) to illustrate the mindset of the serial speeder who, finding his/her way impeded by a slower vehicle, will sit on their tail until they can pass, or the vehicle otherwise is no longer in the way. Speeders and tailgaters tend to be the same people - remove a speeder from the roads and you've removed a tailgater as well.

On a general point about non-police enforcing traffic laws, some offences are black and white i.e. speeding, 'phone use, not wearing belts etc. the detection of which does should not have to be the sole domain of the police, if others can do it to ease the load. Operators in camera vans, CCTV control rooms, etc. can be civilians and there is no reason why they would be less capable of detecting offenders. Parking tickets once issued by the police are now done by civilians.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (2)
-1

Looking at Bob Craven's point about tailgating, following position and overtaking, aka Roadcraft, he correctly says that a following position should be 2 seconds, minimum. At police driving schools it used to be 3-4 seconds. But there is a difference between a following position and what is often called a contact position which one moves to prior to overtaking. You generally can't go to an overtake from a following position, except on a long straight section of road. The contact position is generally a temporary position; not like tailgating which, by contrast, is generally persistent. Never-the-less, even in the contact position one still needs to be able to see past the target vehicle and this is achieved by judicious lateral positioning, otherwise generally called just positioning. The contact position also helps to ensure that the time taken to overtake a vehicle is as short as possible.

A problem with Roadcraft is that it has to be able to be the so called Police drivers manual yet at the same time try to inspire the public to better things. It's caught between a rock and a hard place. If you fully put the real way to overtake into RC, that is the way it is taught at police driving schools, for the consumption of the untrained general public then you would likely see more crashes on the roads. The proper way to overtake is by far the safest but only if it is done properly - and that takes training and practice. It doesn't just come out of a book. So that is the downside of RC, perhaps particularly when talking about overtaking. Sorry to be a bit blunt, Bob, but it's not a contradiction; it is simply a matter of properly understanding the subject.

I will happily supply the item on overtaking from the training manual I used with four advanced driving groups - anyone interested can contact me on: nda@ndaa.co.uk
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (6) | Disagree (4)
+2

Bob, much of what you write is exactly what I’m saying, and strengthens my point. Yes, we all know that there will never be 100% compliance with a compulsory insurance law, or any law for that matter; which is exactly why I say it’s illogical to rely on 100% compliance with a law for something to work. And yes, all road safety measures need to tolerate human nature in all its manifestations, including those who, for whatever reason, do not comply with all motoring laws all of the time (is there anyone else?). So saying that we need laws to ensure compliance is clearly nonsense. What we actually need are new and imaginative measures which will tolerate, rather than fly in the face of, human nature.

Tolerant systems are not a new idea, there are examples of them all around us. For instance, talking about motoring insurance, neither New Zealand or South Africa rely on any law requiring motorists to have car insurance for their 100% no-fault injury compensation systems to work. They both have universal, free at the point of usage, coverage for all residents and visitors, funded from road use taxes. There is no law to break, yet no-one isn't covered - why can't we borrow from that?

We need to lose our preconceptions and start thinking more laterally and more imaginatively. We need to design fail-safe systems in other road safety areas too, systems which work with, rather than against, the laws of human nature. And we need not be too proud to accept that our current up to 100-year-old ideas can be improved upon and not too bullish to accept that not only is criminalising and fining road users unsustainable, but it simply cannot work. I’m confident that if we do that, there is the potential for a step change in casualty reduction, even a realistic chance to actually achieve the, currently pie in the sky, “zero casualties” goal.
Charles, England

Agree (4) | Disagree (3)
+1

The next point is about police traffic patrols. If I am right their original brief was to 'monitor and supervise the behaviour of road users'. That did not mean that every single instance was prosecuted. It was a question of influencing the public to behave in a better way. Speed is important, but it is also important to remember that it is relative; In some circumstances, even 10mph in a 30 zone could be dangerous and at others over 70mph on an empty motorway could be perfectly safe.

So, in my humble view this great pedantry about speed on its own has the situation going on a tangent away from what should be the true track - that is, of course, if safety is the prime consideration. I just wonder how many people shouting so fervently about this speed thing have done anything more than the standard driving test.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)
0

There is this great ho-ha about speed and, as one commentator on this issue wrote, (to paraphrase) 'If you break the law, that is it. You should be prosecuted'. Well, if you go through the detail of road law then probably just about every motorist at some point in their journey breaks some point of motoring law. So where does that leave the situation?
On the matter of speed. If you really want more safety on the road then it is space which is the most important factor of all. Allied to that, yes, you need an appropriate speed for the amount of view you have - generally the shorter the space the shorter the view. But it is space which is the critical factor in the long run aka. 'being able to pull up in the distance you can see to be clear'.

The other point is that if you are going to have civilians who have not done a police advanced course and you are expecting them to police speeding vehicles then there is an inherent vulnerability. Most of what I see of the quality of driving of Highways Officers does not impress me, and that's at the basic level. I really hate to think what they are going to be like if let loose on speeding drivers. More...
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (4) | Disagree (2)
+2

Going back a bit to what Hugh wrote and said about out speeding and tailgating 'if necessary'. I can understand the speeding bit as it would appear that our police chiefs had decided some years ago that our speed limits were too low and that 35/46/57/68/and 79 mph were considered completely ok speeds by them, speeds that anyone can due with impunity and ones for not being stopped and reported for.

Tailgating however has become an epidemic and not one that can be considered as 'necessary'. Unless one has read the Police Roadcraft Manual which 7 or 8 times makes it plainly clear that motorists should at all times obey the more than the 2 second rule and that every driver must give at least the safe following on distances and we must keep such distances as to be able to guarantee stopping in the distance that we see to be clear in front of us. Then it tells us once that we can forget every word we have previously read and pull up much closer and adopt an overtaking position to the vehicle in front. This is in order to obscure our view beyond it and engage in the dubious and dangerous matter of a possible overtake.

What chance do the general public have when the bible of so called advanced driving and riding does such a stupid and insidious thing as this. One that has for about 8 decades now been accepted and adopted without contradiction has been taught to many a driver and rider, in other words keep to the safe rule of stopping distances but forget them if you want to overtake. Doesn't make any sense to me.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (4) | Disagree (5)
-1

Charles, seeing as at September 2014 there were some 45.5 million active drivers registered in the UK, your measly one million doesn't make it much of a problem as you suggested. That's about 2 out of every 100 drivers isn't it.

There will never ever be 100% compliance with law as there will always be those that put themselves above it perhaps feeling that it doesn't apply to them. This is usually to the detriment of everyone else. Without the rule of law there would be anarchy and that means that the weakest in our society wouldn't last very long. If that is what you want go ahead and suggest it and see how far you would get.

PS You are right though that the law makes lawbreakers out of many people. Usually those that believe perhaps as you do.

Human nature being what it is its not about evading the law. In many, indeed the majority of circumstances they either are unaware of the offence (ignorance being no excuse) or know of it and do not consider that it applies to them or that they can eventually get caught and prosecuted. They drive a vehicle simply to get from A to B and with as little regard to road safety as possible. To their own safety and that of other road users. That's why we have the rule of law, to protect people from others and from themselves. Every civilised and even uncivilised nation have rules or laws in order to inform their public that it is sometimes wrong to do whatever they are doing and put penalties their not to raise revenue but to be a deterrent.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (6) | Disagree (7)
-1

I look forward to hearing your proposals for this new 'system' then Charles. Will it take long?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (6)
0

Hugh yes, the fact that one million drivers choose to contravene that particular law tells us exactly that, that it *is* a bad law.

Wouldn't it be better if we designed a system that didn't rely on 100% compliance with an easy-to-evade-law for its efficacy? Imagine the savings we could all make if those million *also* contributed their fair share into the pot that is used to compensate those who suffer damage caused by our road system? I'd rather have a fair and working system than a plethora of excuses for prosecuting millions of errant motorists - wouldn't you?
Charles, England

Agree (12) | Disagree (3)
+9

Reputedly there are one million uninsured drivers on the road. Charles's logic would suggest that to be another 'bad' law that 'we need to question' - after all, one million people can't be wrong can they Charles?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (9) | Disagree (7)
+2

Hugh, 20% of drivers breaking the speed limit is still 100,000s of drivers, and if it's as high as the DfT's "Free Flow Vehicle Speed Statistics: Great Britain 2015" suggests, even for just cars (84% on 20mph roads, 52% on 30mph roads, 46% on motorways and 8% on NSL roads), then it's more like millions of drivers. The RAC survey reported here last September suggests 31% of drivers admit to using a phone whilst driving (that's more than 10 million more offenders). Seat belts weren't mentioned in the article, but even if only 1% of drivers are not wearing them, that's another 400,000 offenders.

But Hugh, whether the scale of contraventions is as low as you suggest, or closer to the published survey results, it still reinforces my point that we need to question the validity of laws that command such little respect and which are contravened by such huge numbers of the population.
Charles, England

Agree (12) | Disagree (7)
+5

Charles: typically, approximately one or two motorists in every ten (at most) will exceed the speed limit and tailgate if necessary; one or two in every hundred will be on the 'phone and slightly more will not be wearing their seat belt.

Always best to check before saying things like: "...validity of the laws that command such little respect and which are contravened by such huge numbers of the population every minute of every day". Not bad laws - bad drivers.
Hugh Jones,Cheshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (8)
0

Rod, what you describe is exactly the type of policing that undermines democracy. The objective of policing in the UK has never been to prosecute every criminal offence committed, the police and the prosecutors have always been allowed, even encouraged, to use discretion and to primarily consider the public interest - case by case. Why should those practices be cast aside for motoring offences? Remember, the best measure of the quality and validity of a law is not how many offenders are caught violating it, but the absence of offenders. We must therefore surely, not throw more resources at prosecuting offenders of such bad laws, but question the validity of the laws that command such little respect and which are contravened by such huge numbers of the population every minute of every day. You need to remember that the mere fact that an offence has been created in law does not imply that it is a just law or that all transgressions of it are bad.

Perhaps we need to go back to first principles, and not assume that the 100-year-old gut-reaction-inspired, hunch- and prejudice-based, ideas of the pre-science and pre-evidence-based era of early motoring are valid in today's world. Time perhaps to design a road system that is fit for purpose and which does not rely on all motorists having superhuman powers for its efficacy and safety, and which demands that all those who fall short will be blamed and punished for their human failings.

And Rod, the usual victims of bad laws are those who are prosecuted for violating them.
Charles, England

Agree (17) | Disagree (10)
+7

From my experience traffic officers currently sit and wait for the police to deal with and tidy up accidents. They don't help traffic flows they just watch and report back to the office.
Peter. Liverpool

Agree (5) | Disagree (33)
-28

Let's face it. Most traffic crime is of a "strict liability" nature. You speed - you commit a crime. No ifs, no buts. As long as there is evidence and the evidence is sound then why does it need an experienced officer.

And for the "anonymous" of Wales and England, motoring crime is rarely "victimless". We are all victims when we can't trust our peers to keep to the rules of the road and substitute their own, often warped, view of what is appropriate.
Rod King, Warrington, Cheshire

Agree (17) | Disagree (16)
+1

When Pat is referring to officers using 'discretion' and 'discernment', is that from the point of view of the offending motorist or the road safety officer's? The possibility of extra resources to target offending drivers might be viewed in a different way by some motorists from the view taken by those tasked with collision reduction. Did those who agreed with Pat's comment and disagreed with mine, do so as motorists I wonder? If so, I don't think it counts.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (12)
-10

The people employed at VOSA are not exactly dumb. They already patrol our motorways and some highways and have already powers bestowed a upon them. I think that they will be an asset and will do a splendid job and use discretion where and when necessary. Just like a police officer would. However if told to go out and report offenders, just like a police officer then that is just what they will be required to do. The sooner the better for me. Can't be soon enough.

Either that or create another seperate Police type Traffic Officer and let them educate as well as enforce the traffic laws of this land. Something that to my mind has been lacking just recently.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (12) | Disagree (15)
-3

The issue in the article is about power and authority to enforce, not collecting video footage. I value the skill an EXPERIENCED traffic police officer has to exercise discretion in his daily work life. I don't like the idea of that power possibly being put in the hands of people that may lack the appropriate experience and capability to apply discernment.
Pat, Wales

Agree (30) | Disagree (12)
+18

The more offences that can be detected by more people the better. With dashcams becoming more and more common and the police being prepared to act on the evidence, the more the wrong doers might realise there's more chance of getting caught. It's not so much the extra powers given to certain individuals (although that will help) it's being able to secure evidence from anyone and which can be acted upon. Charles mentioned dustcart drivers and SCPs amongst others, some of whom who already have been issued with cameras.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (12) | Disagree (25)
-13

They could also give the 'extra powers' to the RAC, AA, lollipop men and women, dustcart drivers, people in bus queues and local busybodies. Is that really what roads policing needs: more ways to catch more drivers committing minor technical and victimless offences rather than ways to actually provide a road system that is fit for purpose?
Charles, England

Agree (32) | Disagree (17)
+15

I understand that legislation, The Road Safety Act 2006 gave powers to vehicle examiners of VOSA the power to report offenders for speeding. So it would appear that this information is old news.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (3) | Disagree (9)
-6