Police forces have refuted claims that traffic police numbers have been cut by as much as 44% over the last five years (The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation).
Road safety charity Brake published figures this week suggesting that police forces across Great Britain have, on average, cut their traffic police numbers by 12%.
The charity said that the reductions will lead to forces struggling to enforce drink driving, speeding and mobile phone infringements and could undermine a new drug driving law expected to be introduced next year.
But a number of police forces identified in the survey claim that the data is incorrect. A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police, which was said to have cut traffic police numbers by 44%, said: “Brake was given the wrong numbers. They say we now have 35 traffic police but in fact it is 47; although we are down 10 officers since 2009. We have also now teamed up with Cambridgeshire Police and Hertfordshire Police and have officers working across borders.”
A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said: “These statistics are inaccurate. We do recognise that traffic officer numbers have reduced in recent years, but in a lot of forces other officers are picking up traffic duties.”
Chief constable Suzette Davenport, national lead for roads policing, said: “These figures are based on inaccurate assumptions and a misunderstanding about how police forces deploy officers on our roads. The terminology used simply does not capture all roads policing resources and is both incomplete and misleading.
“Every chief constable has had to make difficult decisions due to the financial cuts imposed on the police service. No area of policing has been immune. But despite this, latest figures from the DfT show the number of people killed in road accidents reported to the police has fallen to its lowest ever number since national records began in 1926.
"Last December police across the country breathalysed nearly 20,000 more drivers compared with the previous year and found fewer drivers had failed, despite the increase in testing. We remain absolutely determined to make our roads as safe as they can be.”
In response Brake said: “We are using data provided to us by police forces through their Freedom of Information offices, which we haven’t manipulated in any way. A couple of forces have come to us to say the data they originally provided might be incorrect, but only one has provided any alternative figures.”
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