9 February 2018
Two Leicestershire Police Federation representatives attended last week’s two-day national roads policing conference in Hinckley which grabbed press headlines after West Mercia’s Chief Constable Anthony Bangham called for zero tolerance on speeding drivers.
PC Kevin Marsh, local policing directorate with patrol and resolution and response officer at Euston Street, and PC Neil Day, PRT at Braunstone, joined officers from across England and Wales at the conference which was organised by the national Police Federation and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and held at the Jurys Inn.
The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Roads Policing – a new approach’ and sessions included single intelligence entity, challenges of road safety, tackling motorcycle enabled crime and an update on police pursuits.
Delegates heard about the challenges forces face in this critical area of policing and other issues discussed included the impact of budget cuts on roads policing, increasing demands on officers and the ‘fatal four’ driving dangers of drink/drug driving, speeding, using a mobile phone and not wearing a seatbelt, which have been addressed in an effort to change driver behaviour and reduce UK casualty numbers.
There has been a high level of interest in Mr Bangham’s call at the conference for an end to the widely applied 10 per cent plus two miles per hour buffer and suggestion that drivers caught exceeding a speed limit by just one mile per hour could be penalised.
It was this speech that Neil, a police officer for 23 years and Federation representative for three, said was his conference highlight.
“CC Bangham was really interesting. He said casualty statistics should mean that roads policing is a priority but we have less money and fewer officers,” he explained.
“I liked his statement about the service upholding the law without embarrassment or apology. We are portrayed as villains when we enforce traffic legislation yet this is the way to deal with the hard core, repeat offenders who do not currently fear the law.”
Neil also said he will take back to Force the message that simple thinking and ideas can save time and money.
“One is tackling insurance through BOF data to deny criminals the use of the roads. Another is Op Snap which is being used by South Wales Police and uses the general public’s footage of bad driving,” Neil explained.
“All forces have the same issues. We all have reduced roads policing officers and are expected to do more with less. The lack of protection for response and pursuit drivers continues to be a problem and we need to keep pressure on the Government and get laws in place to protect us.”
“So I would ask officers to support Sir Henry Bellingham QC MP’s Emergency Response Drivers’ Bill and the proposed police pursuit legislation. They should write to their MP and encourage their families to do the same.”
The conference highlight for Kevin was slightly different.
“Inspector Simon Hills from Thames Valley Police and his description of Operation Tutelage was fascinating,” he said, “This was a new approach to the old problem of uninsured vehicles using existing technology but in a smarter way. The ANPR camera activated scheme resulted in far fewer vehicles to be tackled by officers.
“I also learnt that the second reading of the Emergency Response Drivers’ bill has been brought forward by Sir Henry Bellingham QC MP and, if passed, states that when an emergency response driver acts in a justified, appropriate and proportionate manner, they should be afforded protection from prosecution.”
Kev, who has been an officer with Leicestershire Police for 22 years and became a Federation representative last year, added: “The message I’ll be taking back to Force on this is that there may be change for pursuit officers to do their job and utilise their recognised skill without fear of prosecution.
“I too will be encouraging officers to send a letter to their MP to lobby support for this bill.”
The Federation’s national lead on roads policing, Jayne Willetts, said at the conference: “We need to have roads policing officers targeting the ‘fatal four’ to keep the public safe, yet the number of dedicated roads policing officers has almost halved since 2000 with just under 4,000 now working across England and Wales. We are calling on chief officers not to reduce the number of specialist roads policing officers any further.”