17 January 2022
Traffic officer cuts linked to failure to reduce road deaths over past decade
"Cops in cars are essential. We have seen a correlation between plateauing road deaths and the decline in the number of dedicated road traffic officers."
Cuts to the number of dedicated roads policing officers have 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.
Around 5 people a day die on Britain's roads.
Adam Commons, Chair of Leicestershire Police Federation, said: "When the Government cut police funding, and 20,000 officers, we always said it would affect the frontline and our ability to effectively police.
"Chief Constables had the unenviable task of stretching a finite level of resources and a number of Forces had to experiment with Regional teams for specialist support such as traffic.
"Politicians think you can run policing like a business and because we have had a small 'uplift' the issue is fixed – it’s not.
"Once you interrupt the recruitment patterns and cut numbers it takes years to get back to a level of experience where you can then progress to these specialist roles and the people that are punished are ultimately the public who expect and deserve the best service we can provide."
Tim Rogers, from the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “People using our roads every day have the right to feel secure and be kept safe. They deserve dedicated, professional, well trained police officers. It is frustrating to witness them being let down by roads policing that has become virtually invisible.”