The number of police dedicated to enforcing traffic offences in England and Wales has fallen by an “alarming” 23% in the last five years which means there are now 1,279 fewer officers patrolling the road, according to the RAC.
The RAC says between 2010 and 2014, 43 police forces cut their traffic officers from a combined 5,635 to 4,356.
Devon and Cornwall Police has suffered the largest cut (76%) taking the number of traffic officers from 239 to just 57. The reductions in other forces include Essex (71%), Nottinghamshire (68%), Wiltshire (47%) and Avon and Somerset and Dorset (both 39%).
Only two forces have increased their traffic officer count in this time: Suffolk by 32% (67 officers to 88) and Warwickshire by 230% (10 to 37).
Pete Williams, RAC head of external affairs, said: “These figures make a mockery of motoring law – if there are not enough police on the road, we can introduce all the new rules we want, but those breaking them just will not get caught.
“While cameras are good at catching speeders and drivers who go through red lights, offences that relate to general poor behaviour at the wheel still rely on a police officer to enforce them.
“Our research shows that millions of motorists are frustrated with the cut in traffic police numbers and believe the chances of drivers being pulled up for breaking the law are now minimal.
“Motorists are tired of constantly seeing other drivers breaking the law and getting away with it so it is hardly surprising that they want to see a greater police presence on our roads to enforce motoring legislation more effectively, which would also act as a genuine deterrent.
“The Government should also be asking whether the reduction in traffic police is in any way connected to the recent rises in the number of deaths and injuries on our roads.”