The number of traffic police on the roads has fallen and this in turn has increased the number of road casualties, according to both representative from the Police Federation as well as road safety campaigners.
Though the actual figures haven’t been released yet, all the talk from the experts is suggesting that results will show that road deaths have in fact increased for the third quarter in a row, as policing units aren’t able to focus their efforts on the country’s motorways, main and rural roads.
Collating evidence and opinions from officers from across the country, the Police Federation say that the cuts in specifically trained officers in road safety and the merger of traffic units means that our roads are not as safe as they were. Officers told the Federation that senior officers have lost a ‘vital deterrent’ in the battle against dangerous driving and has meant more accidents occur on the busy roads across the country.
The official statistics from the Department of Transport will be published on Thursday and are expected to confirm predictions that the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads will have increased significantly. The last set of statistics, revealed in November 204 showed that those killed or seriously injured had risen 4% on the previous period.
Campaigners, both in terms of the police themselves and those who work for road safety charities believe this rising figure is closely linked to the change in policing budgets and traffic units important. Road policing numbers have fallen by a huge 12% nationally and some forces have seen up to 40% reductions and the loss of the dedicated traffic units altogether, according to Brake, the road safety charity. They describe the predicted figures as evidence of the government’s failure to deliver and how the level of the cuts is effecting the safety of the general public in more ways than one.
This warning from industry experts has been possible because many police forces across the country have released their own independent figures relating to the rise in road deaths in 2014. Sharp rises were seen in the Thames Valley force area who reported a 36% increase and Northern Ireland where they reported a 38% increase, amongst others.
The future of the traffic specialists and units within the police force is still not known and perhaps, with these figures demonstrating the negative effects of less police on the roads, the government will see the need to make a significant change and work to provide safer roads for us all. A serious road traffic accident is life changing and the more that can be done to avoid them, the more the government should take note.