10 June 2021
Gemma Fox, Police Federation of England and Wales’ Roads Policing Lead, has pressed the need for more investment and an increase in the number of roads policing officers.
During the Annual Conference session lead by representatives from the Roads Policing Forum, she cited a reduction of 18 per cent in the number of officers in this vital roll over the last decade and explained how the forum is spearheading change on their behalf.
She said: “It has been really challenging for our police drivers covering the millions of miles of our roads network to keep the public safe.
“The Federation values the police on our roads, and they cannot be underestimated. Austerity has damaged their ability to police our roads to keep the public safe.
“We can appreciate advancements in technology, and safety - but it doesn’t replace the physical presence of officers responding to collisions on the roads.
“Our road officers are so highly skilled we cannot overlook this - they are an operational need. Our forum is here to address this issue and support members.”
The Roads Forum is made up of a Police Federation representative from each of the 43 forces and is here to represent all police drivers, not just roads policing officers.
Steve Taylor, PFEW Deputy Roads Policing Lead, said: “It allows the small, dedicated group to grow roads policing and strengthen the voice of members to stakeholders by discussing the issues, highlighting their concerns to those at the top.
“For members up and down the country, their voice, through the forum, is magnified to the very top of organisations allowing us to drive forward change and improvement on behalf of our colleagues."
PFEW’s Collision Investigation Lead Andy Smith added there has been a “significant amount of change” to his specialism as the forum is now part of the Forensic Collision Investigation Network to standardise training and equipment for investigators.
He said: “They have gone from having to have a City and Guilds qualification to a certificate of higher education and will move into a degree in the next few years.
“The standards are increasing, which means for people on the ground, it is an interesting but tough time. A lot of time is spent with a head in a book and understanding how new kit works.”
Gemma continued the session by stressing more needs to be done to support the mental health of officers on the road who witness some of the most traumatising scenes.
She said: “Trauma in roads policing is significant and the forum is really making sure to signpost members towards any help they need and give them that assistance.
“Ultilise the Roads Policing Forum and your reps - we have the ability to take your concerns directly to chiefs,” she concluded.
Look out for our Accelerating Change: Roads Policing Virtual Conference on 29 September 2021. More details will follow soon.
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