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Hampshire Police Federation

Traffic officer cuts linked to failure to reduce road deaths over past decade

17 January 2022

Cuts to the number of dedicated traffic officers has been linked to a failure to reduce road deaths in the past decade, a new investigation has found.

According to figures from BBC Panorama, the number of police officers tasked with enforcing road laws has dropped by 15% since 2016.

Figures from 34 forces who responded to a Freedom of Information request showed the total number of dedicated traffic officers fell from 5,014 in 2016 to 4,257 currently.

Meanwhile, the number of people killed on the roads each year remained stable between 2010 and 2019, after going down for three decades.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoe Wakefield said the figures showed the impact of “significant cuts” to a highly specialised area of policing.

She said: “Sadly cuts have consequences. A decade worth of cuts to police numbers will have an impact.

“Chief Officers have had to make difficult decisions on where they cut resources. They will always have to have sufficient resources to respond to 999 calls, so other areas and departments suffer as a result.

“In Hampshire, our Roads Policing Teams have suffered significant cuts over the past decade. With the current recruitment campaign, their numbers will increase but this is a highly specialised area of policing so it will take years to regain the expertise and experience that has been lost.

“I think we have all noticed a reduction of a visible presence of the police on our roads and we have all experienced the dangerous driving by a few individuals who take advantage of this.”

The Panorama investigation also found that nearly 50% of fixed speed cameras do not work.

In response to a separate FoI request, 26 forces said that 523 of a total of 1,110 fixed speed cameras were inactive.

In some areas, including North Yorkshire, Durham and Northamptonshire, no cameras were active.

See more here: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/king-bbc-northamptonshire-panorama-durham-b977026.html