Use mobile phone fines to fund road safety projects – West Midlands PCC

12.00 | 23 September 2016 | | 4 comments

The money raised from penalising motorists who are caught using their mobile phones while driving should be used to fund road safety projects, a West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has said. (Express and Star)

Former road safety minister David Jamieson PCC made the call in a letter to the new transport secretary, Chris Grayling. He has also warned that the force’s attempts to enforce the law will be hindered by lack of funds and resources.

Penalties for using a mobile phone when behind the wheel were first introduced a decade ago by Mr Jamieson when he was road safety minister.

Last week, it was widely reported that the penalty for the offence is to double from three points and a £100 fine to six points and a £200 fine.

Although there has been no official government announcement, the new penalties are expected to come into force in the first half of 2017.

The increase in penalty points would mean an immediate ban for newly-qualified drivers who have a ceiling of six points for the first two years after passing the test.

In his letter, Mr Jamieson wrote: "I would ask that you work with your colleagues at the Home Office and Treasury to recognise that further cuts to our police force will cripple its capacity to enforce the Department for Transport’s commendable new measures.

“Furthermore, enforcement would be aided by the redirection of penalty fine proceeds to local police forces for the purpose of enforcement of road safety measures, in the same way that fines yielded from speed camera detections were between 2001 and 2010.

"These funds could be ring-fenced for road safety, so that offenders pay for enforcement instead of tax payers."




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    I don’t see why it has to be only traffic police. I would hope that regular police officers and comunity support officers act on these offences when they see them. It doesn’t have to be a prosecution – a telling-off is better than nothing, if it leads to the prevention of a collision. Whilst GATSOs can’t detect ‘phone use, the mobile speed cameras can.

    Hugh Jones
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    Many comments have been made regarding the recent decrease in road trafic police officers, as well as the full total of police officers they have been reduced recently by 27%. There were only just over 5000 such officers at the best of times and they were being reduced in some way thanks to the Gasto camera which could generate more income and catch more offenders than all the traffic patrol officers spending there time with speed cameras in their hands.

    That said the actual reduction means that there are now about 4000 such specialist trafic patrol officers. Taking into account a three shift system, rest days, holiday entitlement and sick leave, time off, courses and being sidelined to other extraneous duties one is generally left with far less than 1000 officers on duty at any one time. May even be as low as 600 for the whole of the country. Not many but perhaps only 200 less than it was before the drastic reductions took place.

    They have in some part been replaced with civilian drivers with similar coloured vehicles and notices saying patrol offficer but they have a limited ability to deter offences and cannot prosecute in as many instances as an actual police officer.

    R.Craven Blackpool
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    Hypothecation never went away, it’s just done via speed awareness schemes with £5 put aside for central management fees.

    Dave, Bedfordshire
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    I’m trying to understand why the ex-minister now PCC singles out mobile phones for his attention and not, say, speeding fines? Should not all driving offences that generate a fine be treated the same? Hypothecation (using fines for a particular purpose) ceased to be used in the case of speed cameras many years ago. The argument went that if fines that are generated are fed back to the police then they will increase activity and catch more offenders. That seems OK with me (to a sensible degree) but the government stopped hypothecation of camera fines for its own reasons. So let us have uniformity – all driving offence fines be used for road safety projects or none of them. Roads policing could certainly do with being better financed.

    Pat, Wales
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