A new report highlights link between traffic policing cuts and declining road offences
A report published by the Transport Select Committee says that a fall in motoring offences is linked to declining numbers of specialist road policing officers, rather than a general improvement in road safety.
According to the Transport Select Committee, the number of motoring offences fell from 4.3m in 2004 to 1.62m in 2013, while the number of specialist road policing officers in England and Wales fell by 2,748 to 4,356 between 2005 and 2014.
The report also highlighted that while technology plays an important role in road traffic enforcement, with the majority of fixed penalty notices for speeding being camera detected, cameras cannot determine whether a motorist is driving recklessly, without a seatbelt or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, highlighting the need for sufficient road traffic policing.
Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Louise Ellman, stressed that road traffic law enforcement can only be effectively implemented if there are sufficient levels of police officers on the roads.
A separate report by the RAC last year found that 62% of 1,555 motorists surveyed said that they believe there are not enough traffic police on UK roads.
David Robinson, a serious injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The findings of this report highlight the inescapable link between physical presence enforcement and road safety, something long known yet ignored by this and the previous government who have instead forced through dramatic cuts with a huge impact on the number of traffic police officers.
“The government cannot afford to make any more cuts to traffic police levels, for the sake of the safety of all road users. Without proper enforcement on UK roads, reckless drivers will continue to flout the law without fear of apprehension, putting themselves and other road users at risk of death or serious injury.”
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