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Why I back watchdog’s call for sharper focus on roads policing

Why I back watchdog’s call for sharper focus on roads policing

Road safety for me remains one of my key priorities as Gloucestershire’s Police & Crime Commissioner.

But a report out this week by  HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has said that roads policing in England and Wales has become less important. 

HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said: 

“Our inspection suggests that roads policing, despite the number of road deaths plateauing and likely to increase, is seen as less of a priority than it should be.

The report was critical of some of my PCC colleagues who don’t include road safety in their police and crime plans or make little reference, that is despite the high number of people still killed on the country’s roads each year.

Safe & Social Driving a priority since 2012

Since becoming Gloucestershire’s first PCC in 2012, I have made  ‘Safe and Social Driving’ an integral part of my policing plan. 

 “I can understand why cuts in spending may have influenced others but road safety has always been a priority for me. I think I was the first PCC to make it so and may have been the only one for quite a long time because I believe that people should be able to move around our communities in safety and with as much ease and convenience as possible.

Taking back control

In the last few years, one of the biggest things to impact on the forces ability to deliver a better localised roads policing services was the taking back of control of local roads policing by withdrawing from the Tri-Force agreement with neighbouring Wiltshire and Avon and Somerset Police. This has enabled the Chief Constable to focus more on local concerns.

Examples of this include, the award winning Operation Indemnis  which centred on the A417/419, was a big success. It’s resulted in fewer fatal or life changing collisions; it lead to hundreds of motorists being stopped for speeding, using mobile phones while driving  tailgating and other motoring offences and many more received help from the police when they broke down – so it wasn’t just about enforcement.

Its not just about enforcement

Education programmes run by my office in partnership with the Fire and Rescue Service are also helping to prepare new and novice drivers and my next Police and Crime Plan will include measures to help those with more experience who might be anxious about returning to the roads after lockdown.

I’m pleased to say that all of this is in accordance with what the HMICFRS is recommending for other parts of the country”.

What’s next

I welcome the report out this week as it reinforces my belief that road safety should remain a key priority.

Over the next few months as the county and country looks to recover from the Covid19 pandemic I will continue to champion road safety.

My office is currently working to refresh my Police and Crime Plan to take into account the impact of coronavirus and also the issues raised from the events in the United States with the death of George Floyd.

As part of that work , plans are being developed to introduce  a new range of measures and commitments that will include placing a greater emphasis on local traffic ‘hotspots’ and this be revealed towards the autumn. 

Martin Surl
martinsurl@policecommissioner.net