‘More resources would mean more lives saved on our roads’

31 January 2018

Delegates at the conference

Around 150 delegates attended this year's conference

A warning that dwindling numbers of roads police officers are under increased pressure due to colleagues being deployed to other duties was given at this year's Roads Policing Conference.

More than 200 delegates, guests, speakers and exhibitors attended the two-day event, held 30-31 January, in Hinckley, Leicestershire.  The conference, sponsored by MIB, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and Slater & Gordon, tackled many challenges facing roads policing today. 

With roads police officer numbers slashed by one third over the past five years, delegates discussed opportunities for a new approach.  Our roads policing lead, Jayne Willetts, said: "Think of the lives we could save if we had more resources.  Unfortunately the message is simply not getting through to the Government."  Ms Willetts also spoke about the Federation’s efforts to change the law around police pursuits so that officers’ advanced driver training and approved tactics are recognised by the courts so that unjustified prosecutions can be avoided.

Delegates also heard from Anthony Bangham, West Mercia Chief Constable and roads policing lead for the National Police Chiefs' Council, who set out a vision of the UK having the safest roads in the world. He said this could be achieved by forces taking a no-nonsense approach to lawbreaking and urged them to embrace dash cam and head cam footage filmed by the public, to make road users fearful of being caught if they break the law.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP spoke about the potential for technology to save police time and resources, such as officers filling in forms electronically at the roadside. He also said mobile breath-test equipment would soon replace the need to take suspects to a station.

In addition to the conference, a live operation was held outside the venue to check vehicles for roadworthiness and catch anyone driving using a mobile phone or without insurance - on the first day of the conference 19 vehicles were stopped and 23 offences recorded.

Other highlights included breakout sessions, an awards evening where outstanding contributions to roads policing were recognised, and a presentation on Operation SNAP, a pilot scheme operating in Wales where the public can upload footage of lawbreaking to a secure cloud.  Delegates also heard from Chief Inspector Colin Carswell on successful tactics used by the Metropolitan Police recently to contain and arrest organised motorcycle disorder.

Ms Willetts hailed the conference a success: "The event was everything we hoped it would be – an opportunity to share best practice and debate major issues in roads policing today. Our theme ‘a new approach’ also involved looking to the future and assessing the impact of new technologies and how they might change the face of roads policing."

Further information on our Roads Policing Conference