Government announces review into roads policing

09.53 | 13 July 2020 | | 1 comment

The Government hopes a newly-launched review into roads policing will help stakeholders better understand how enforcement can be utilised to reduce road casualties.

Announced on 13 July alongside a call for evidence, the review sets out to identify how the use of existing enforcement capabilities, and any enhancement of these, will deliver the biggest impact for road user safety. 

This call for evidence, which runs until 5 October, seeks views on:

  • The better use of intelligence to target dangerous behaviours
  • How technology can assist in enforcing road traffic law now and in the future
  • How to better understand the value of enforcement in influencing road user behaviour

Baroness Vere, roads minister, said: “Since 2010 we have seen a plateauing in the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads after years of steadily declining numbers. 

“For this reason, the DfT has instituted a roads policing review working with the Home Office, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and other agencies. 

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

Review of roads policing ‘long overdue’
The review follows the publication of a report, which linked the Government’s failure to reduce road deaths over the past decade to the decline in the number of roads policing officers.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) report, published in June, points to the fact police numbers were cut by 22% in 2010-14 and by a further 18% in 2015-19.

Meanwhile during this time, road casualty figures have flatlined.

The PACTS report highlights international research confirming the effectiveness of roads policing in increasing compliance with traffic laws and reducing road casualties – cutting some collision types by around a quarter.

David Davies, executive director of PACTS, said: “We are very pleased to see this call for evidence and the extensive technical work that is being undertaken in parallel through the joint review. 

“The DfT has responsibility for road safety but the Home Office calls the shots on policing. This split in accountability and delivery has too often held back road safety. 

“Considering that vehicles have become safer and investment in roads has continued, there is widespread suspicion that cuts in enforcement by the police have been a major factor in the UK’s slide in international road safety ranking.

“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.”



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    I welcome the review. After reading the scope I was left uncertain about whether the court processes and level of penalties were in or out of scope of the review. I would call upon the Terms of Reference to be explicit one way or the other on this.

    In my judgement the above issues should be in scope given the overall systematic linkages across enforcement particularly for repeat offenders that disproportionately affect the safety of our roads.

    Peter Whitfield, Liverpool
    Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

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