Rethinking Roads Policing – Responding to the DfT’s Roads Policing Call for Evidence

As part of the UK government’s two-year review into roads policing, the Department for Transport (DfT) is consulting on how to make traffic law enforcement more effective. Action Vision Zero has drafted its response calling for a rethink with roads policing focused on harm reduction. Police have much to do and too few resources. Prioritisation is inevitable and this should mean emphasising reducing harm posed to others, especially those more vulnerable. This should apply to all policing, but especially with roads policing, given the scale of death, injury and intimidation on our roads and its disproportionate distribution. In collisions between motor vehicles, it is the cyclist or pedestrian who is killed or seriously injured, not the motor vehicle occupant.

AVZ wants good practice to be identified so police efforts can be better evaluated and supported.

AVZ is calling for police services to commit to prioritising the high harm offences, which include careless and dangerous driving. The traditional police approach of the “fatal four” is limited to drink/drug driving, seat belts, distracted driving and speeding. Close pass operations and third-party reporting, developments in recent years welcomed especially by cyclists, have helped increase careless driving sanctions.

Strategic thinking has been missing. The recent HMICFRS Roads Policing report noted the lack of roads policing strategies. Without a strategy, roads policing efforts risk being disjointed and ineffective. And without greater transparency (data on motoring offences is published every year by the Home Office in October, whereas other crime data is just a month old when published) it is not possible to monitor nor evaluate police efforts. Tweets and press releases help raise the profile of enforcement but do not substitute for monitoring or evaluation.  

Community collaboration has been key, as seen in both Op Snap and Community Speed Watch. The role of the community in delivering safer roads is being recognised by Police and Crime Commissioners with community road safety grant schemes.

Read our draft response and feel free to use or support. Do let us know how to strengthen our response. Responses are limited to 10 pages and 500 words per question.

Consultation closes Monday. Help get the voices of those committed to road danger reduction and Vision Zero be heard.

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