A senior police officer has told the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group that forces around the country are not enforcing 20mph speed limits, according to a story in The Times.
If true, it is being left up to local authorities to enforce the law as a growing number of cities, including Manchester and Liverpool, move to citywide 20mph limits.
According to The Times, MPs were astonished at the disclosure from Mark Milsom, assistant chief constable with West Yorkshire Police, that police had decided against enforcing the lower speed limit in residential areas.
Rod King, from 20s Plenty for Us, said the police are taking a "20th Century approach" and need to "align their thinking with modern developments".
ACC Milsom told the Parliamentary hearing into cycle safety: “We are not enforcing 20mph speed limits at this moment in time.”
Ian Austin MP, co-chair of the inquiry, said he was “disappointed and dismayed” by the “unacceptable” admission that police appeared to be turning a blind eye. He added: “I think all too often we see the people responsible for really serious injuries or deaths on the roads get away scot free or with derisory sentences and I think there needs to be greater emphasis on cycle safety from the police and the CPS.”
In response to ACC Milsom’s comments, an ACPO spokeswoman said: “In most cases, 20 mph limits will follow DfT guidance and include features such as speed bumps or traffic islands designed to slow traffic.
"ACPO guidelines include thresholds for enforcement across all speed limits to underpin a consistent policing approach. However it is for local police forces to apply a proportionate approach to enforcement of 20mph limits based on risk to individuals, property and the seriousness of any breach.
"Where drivers are exceeding the speed limit through wilful offending, we would expect that officers will enforce the limit and prosecute offenders."
Stephen Hammond, road safety minister, said that he would be pursuing the issue. “We will be having further discussions with the police,” he said.
Norman Baker, transport minister, said: “My view is that the law of the land is the law of the land. Parliament sets the law of the land and it is the police’s job to enforce it.”
He added that he was coming under “quite considerable pressure from local councils” to have 20mph limits enforced.
Rod King, from 20s Plenty for us, said: "Wide-area 20mph limits are the way forward as clearly suggested by DfT and many local authorities.
"The police are still taking a 20th Century approach and need to align their thinking with modern developments in urban design and community aspirations. That requires a collaborative approach with local authorities and whilst hapenning in more enlightened police forces needs to become the norm rather than the exception.
"Whilst we accept the perogative of the police to make tactical decisions on the enforcement of limits on specific roads it is not acceptable for them to make any blanket exclusions of particular speed limits."
Click here to read the full Times’ report.