90 days from today is Tue, 10 November 2020
31 January 2020
Police officers have “serious concerns” about Smart Motorways, the PFEW Roads Policing Conference in Warwickshire has heard.
Chris Hide, Sussex Police Federation Representative, said: "What happens if a vehicle breaks down somewhere on a hard shoulder that has been turned into a live lane? There’s nowhere to go, there’s no safe route. And we’ve seen from the statistics that there is a deep concern.”
Smart Motorways have been labelled “death traps”, and a Panorama BBC Documentary aired the dangers on TV this week.
The meeting also heard that road policing units are often under-staffed and under-resourced. Chris added: “There’s certainly fewer officers than there were before, and fewer bases.
"I’d love to see more bases again because officers have got so many miles to travel to and from even just getting to work, let alone on top of their day job and going to the incidents they have to go to. It is a concern.”
Chris also called for legislation to be introduced to protect officers from prosecution. The Emergency Response Drivers (Protections) Ten Minute Rule Bill was read in Parliament in December 2017. It was accepted with cross party sponsors on that occasion but is still awaiting its second reading, after an attempt on 23 November 2018 ran out of time.
Chris added: “It’s dragging for far too long. It can’t come in soon enough. It’s totally outrageous that we don’t have the protections with the skills we’ve learned in those roles. It’s a real worry. It needs to happen now.”