New approach needed to resource roads policing

30 January 2018

Jayne Willetts and Anthony Bangham

PFEW and NPCC roads policing leads - Jayne Willetts and Anthony Bangham

Roads policing needs a ‘new approach’ of embracing technology and putting more dedicated officers on the frontline if it is to enforce the law and improve safety.

This was the message from Jayne Willetts, our roads policing lead, as she opened this year’s Roads Policing Conference in Hinckley, Leicestershire, today.  Ms Willetts highlighted the reduction of 21,000 police officers since 2010 and the worrying trend of existing roads officers being redeployed to other operational duties.  There has also been a 58% spike in drug-driving, making a case for more enforcement and education.  She said: “To put it bluntly, the current situation is not good enough.  There are some people in the Government and some senior managers that will agree that resources do matter but for others the message is simply not getting through.  Think of what we could achieve with more? Think of the lives we could save if we had more resources.”

Ms Willetts also spoke about the unfairness of the criminal justice system which currently does not recognise the professional training of police officers.  This has led to trained police drivers being prosecuted for doing their job.  She added: “We must protect the protectors from unjustified driving prosecutions.”  Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, roads policing lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, also addressed the conference and responded that he is confident the Home Office will support a change in the law that trained police drivers should be allowed to depart from the ‘careful and competent driver’ universal standard.

Mr Bangham also set out a vision for the UK having the safest roads in the world by ensuring that drivers should have a ‘genuine fear of being caught’ if they speed, use a phone at the wheel, drive under the influence of drink or drugs, with the same message going to cyclists who skip red lights.

He said the lack of money and resources could be mitigated if ‘all police officers make it their business to police the roads’, and called on roads policing officers to take a robust and unapologetic approach to enforcing the law as well as encouraged the public to upload dash-cam footage of wrongdoing: “Let’s commit to having the safest roads, let’s make it everyone’s business, let’s embrace technology and what the public can do – let’s get out there and send the message that we’re proud of what we do.”

Further information on our Roads Policing Conference