In July, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published a report into the state of roads policing in England and Wales.
Roads Policing: Not optional - An inspection of roads policing in England and Wales
The report noted that, since 2013 following sustained reductions, the number of road deaths each year has levelled off and there are now signs of an increase. At the same time, it found there had been a steady decline in the importance of roads policing with less enforcement of, for instance, drink or drug driving and not wearing a seatbelt, with the number of deaths increasing for these offences.
If found roads policing has evolved. Where we once had ‘traffic officers’ that focused on the compliance with road traffic legislation and dealing with collisions, we now have the concept of ‘policing the roads’ where resources are used to target criminals who use the roads.
In the report published today, inspectors state that despite the high number of people killed on the roads in England and Wales each year, often force police and crime plans made little or no reference to roads policing. HMICFRS has made recommendations to encourage the police service to improve.
The inspection found:
- some good initiatives, but too often the effect of these was unclear due to a lack of analysis and evaluation;
- when it was identified, good practice wasn’t shared across forces in an effective manner;
- support provided to national road safety campaigns wasn’t consistent, which adversely affected their effectiveness; and
- too often we found officers that hadn’t been given the appropriate training and support to allow them to carry out a critical role.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said:
“Our inspection suggests that roads policing, despite the number of road deaths plateauing and likely to increase, is seen as less of a priority than it should be. We found that almost half of local crime plans didn’t include reference to roads policing. This, along with an unclear national strategy, is doing little to help reduce the number of deaths and life-changing accidents which occur on our roads.
“Spending on roads policing has been cut by 34% resulting in fewer officers dealing with offences that cause road deaths. However, there is a clear and pressing need for government, police and crime commissioners, chief officers, and the College of Policing to recognise the importance of roads policing in reducing death on the roads. We have made recommendations to help the police improve the effectiveness of roads policing in England and Wales. In doing so, we are clear, roads policing is not optional.”
Call for Evidence
The government has now issued a call for evidence to understand what the future of roads policing should look like.
Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Departnment for Transport, said:
“This call for evidence seeks to identify what makes a difference and how the capability and capacity of enforcement services can be enhanced.”
“I encourage everyone to respond so that we can build the fairest and most operationally effective enforcement capability in police and other agencies to deliver the best outcome for the safety of all road users.”
ARRM will be submitting its own response to the Department for Transport and is calling on members to provide relevant information for inclusion. Our response must be submitted by 5th October. If you would like to contribute, please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org and ensure that any comments are supported by evidence.
You can read full details about the call for evidence here
Open consultation – Roads policing review: call for evidence
The consultation questions are as follows:
- Why do you think road casualties have remained fairly constant?
- What does the evidence suggest has the most impact on reducing deaths on the road?
- What evidence led initiatives demonstrate what could be done to help reduce road traffic casualties?
- Can you provide examples or empirical evidence demonstrating a relationship between road traffic law enforcement and compliance with road traffic law?
- Can you provide any examples or empirical evidence identifying a causal relationship between enforcement and road collision casualty numbers?
- Can you provide any evidence or examples that road traffic enforcement can disrupt or detect other (non-motoring) criminality?
- What else alongside enforcement (such as education or examples of use of technology and signage) has been evidenced to increase compliance?
- How have improvements in design and technology of vehicles (such as collision avoidance systems) impacted upon road safety?
- In respect of commercial vehicles can you provide any evidence or examples that current levels of enforcement by police and/or DVSA and the sanctions that follow are an effective deterrent to encourage compliance?
- If not, can you provide any evidence or examples of how enforcement or sanctions could be changed to achieve improved compliance?
- Can you provide evidence or examples of where enforcement of road traffic law can benefit congestion management and air quality?
- Is there evidence to show how prosecutions contribute to road safety?
- Can you provide evidence or examples (in particular the use of technology) of what could be done to better enable and equip those charged with enforcing traffic laws?
- Can you provide evidence of existing approaches to enforcement or available technologies that could inform the future shape of road traffic enforcement by police and other agencies?