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Decline in Police Numbers the Reason for Fall in Recorded Road Crimes

March 21, 2016

A parliamentary report has been published into the enforcement of the UK’s road laws and it found that the falling number of recorded crimes in the roads is unfortunately not a sign that there has been a reduction in offences.

The report published by the Transport Committee found that motoring offences are failing to be detected because of the decline in specialise traffic police officers on the road. The report focused on infrastructure changes and the need for education but it also included the fact that both these things but be fully backed up by enforcement from the police force, so road users know if they are driving illegally, they will be found out.

The Transport Committee was first announced and set up in October 2015 and it has been put in place to provide in depth scrutiny of the government’s policies to improve road safety to avoid dangerous and careless driving, and whether their changes are working.

Transport Police numbers fall

In January Auto Express revealed figures which suggested that the number of full time specialist traffic police working in England and Wales has been cut by nearly a third since 2010 figures and the 2015 RAC Report on Motoring also showed that drivers believe there are not enough police on the roads, with 62% believing the number on the roads isn’t sufficient to be able to effectively enforce driving laws.

Figures show that the number of ‘causing death’ offences is no lower the total number of detected motoring offences has more fallen more than 50% in the past decade from 4.3 million in 2004 and 1.62 million in 2013.

The report accepts that the main correlation is between the falling numbers of traffic police and the falling number of detected accidents rather than the change being due to accidents not happening at all. The report was also able to make recommendations to the government and suggests they should be maintaining the number of specialist road traffic officers and also make use of appropriate technology. The Committee’s report also recommended that more research should be made into the use of ‘diversionary education courses for poor driving’ to see whether they have delivered a deterrent effect as the police suggest.

There needs to be a way of convincing road users that there are specialist road police keeping the roads safe as it is a worry for drivers concerned with issues from uninsured driver to those driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. This report should nudge the government into finding solutions for the number of road crimes and the safety issues on the roads.

Image:   © Copyright Ian S and licensed for reuse under thisCreative Commons Licence