Ministers have announced plans for a major shake-up of roads policing in response to warnings that the lack of a visible police presence on the roads means yob motorists believe they can behave with impunity, there are also concerns about the failure to reduce road casualties over the past decade.
Statistics show that after falling for many years, road casualties have remained stubbornly high since 2010. And the number of people killed by drink drivers is rising.
The two-year review launched by ministers will be launched this year.
This review will not only highlight where police forces are doing good work, it will show what more can be done to improve road safety.
Road safety charity Brake urged the Government to make investment in traffic policing a priority as it revealed that more than 9,500 motorists were caught speeding last year.
The RAC warned that the decline in road traffic policing may have contributed to a resurgence in drivers being caught using their mobiles at the wheel.
Police patrolling the roads may be instructed to take a ‘more proactive approach’ to tackling crime.
This would mean an increased emphasis on stopping drivers for infringements such as having a dangerous fault with their car or speeding on the basis that offenders are more likely to be involved in other crimes, such as drug running.
AA president Edmund King said last night: ‘The biggest deterrent to someone drink-driving, picking up their phone behind the wheel or driving without insurance, is to have a very strong and very visible police presence.
Reducing the number of specialist traffic police by a third over a decade has meant that some drivers feel they can regularly drive or act dangerously and get away with it.’
The number of traffic police officers fell from 7,104 in 2005 to 4,356 in 2014.
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