I have received a number of emails in relation to a specific proposal from Cycling UK. The original email and my response are below.
Thank you for your email.
Roads policing is important to me and in Hertfordshire it is provided by an efficient joint unit in collaboration with our neighbouring forces in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. I hold the Chief Constable to account for the performance of the unit and provide strategic direction through my Police and Crime Plan. However the detailed management and resourcing of the unit is an operational one and therefore properly a decision for him. I therefore do not believe it would be right for me to seek to impose the very specific constraints you describe particularly as they would not be meaningful in a context where so much of our work is done by a workforce spread across regional and sub regional collaborated units.
Sent: Thursday, 14 April, 2016 3:14pm
Subject: FW: David, road crime is real crime. Will you drive it out as a PCC?
From:Jon Snow [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 13 April 2016 16:40
To: R Commissioner
Subject: David, road crime is real crime. Will you drive it out as a PCC?
I am writing to you as President of Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, to find out whether, if elected as Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), you will treat road crime as real crime and help drive it out?
The specific question I am asking all of the candidates standing in the PCC elections is:
Will you commit to increase the amount allocated to roads policing within the force budget by at least 2% above inflation each year for the next four years, and by more if that is what is required to ensure that traffic police officer numbers within the force account for 5% of total officer numbers within four years?
The resourcing of roads policing is important because the perception that our roads are unsafe is one of the main factors which discourages people from cycling; an activity which is healthy, environmentally friendly and reduces congestion on the roads. The lack of traffic police officers feeds that perception, as less traffic officers means a reduced risk of detection and prosecution of bad drivers, who are then less likely to change their driving behaviour.
Traffic officer numbers have fallen nationally by 37% from 2012/3 to 2013/14, from almost 7,000 uniformed officers to just 4,356. During that period the total number of police officers nationally fell by just 3.5%. Police funding cuts have disproportionately affected roads policing.
The consequences of this were outlined last month within the Transport Committee’s enforcement inquiry report, which concluded that “for enforcement to be successful and for educational campaigns to be convincing there must be the likelihood that offenders will be apprehended. There is a growing concern that the lack of specialist dedicated road traffic officers means that ‘minor’ offences such as careless driving cannot be effectively detected and enforcement action taken”.
The Committee also recommended that the number of specialist roads policing officers should be maintained, and that no force should be allowed to neglect its road safety obligations with impunity.
Identifying a reduction in full-time equivalent traffic police officers from 5% to 3.4% of all serving police officers over ten years, the Committee said that the reduction in overall road traffic offences recorded did not represent a reduction in offences committed, but rather a fall in the number of offences being detected as the number of traffic police officers had fallen.
If elected as PCC you would be able to:
- Set the force budget and determine the precept;
- Determine the percentage of that budget which is allocated to roads policing;
- Determine the priority to be given to roads policing in your police and crime plan (PCP);
- Hold the Chief Constable and police force to account in relation to their delivery of the roads policing targets and priorities within your PCP.
This gives you an opportunity to reverse the decline in roads policing and help make our roads safe for all users.
That is why I am asking the question set out above. Please send your answer and any further thoughts you might have back to me or my colleague at Cycling UK: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cycling UK will then upload your response on its website at www.cyclinguk.org/votebike, where voters will then be able to view each candidate’s response.
Cycling UK will soon ask voters to get in touch with you on the issue of road crime, and I very much hope that you will take the time to consider the question asked, reflect upon the decline in roads policing, and respond.
President, Cycling UK, and Channel 4 News Presenter
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