AVZ blog (October 2021) – West Yorkshire Police and Crime Plan survey

This blog can be downloaded as a pdf here

West Yorkshire campaigners – we want to hear from you.

Even more, we want Tracy Brabin, West Yorkshire Mayor, to hear from you! This is your chance to influence the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Plan, calling for increasing speed enforcement and making careless driving a priority offence for the police. West Yorkshire Police has reported 41% of dashcam submissions result in No Further Action.

Mayor Brabin is conducting a survey on the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Plan. This survey closes on 29th October. See below for some suggestions from Action Vision Zero.

West Yorkshire roads policing background

But first information on West Yorkshire. In 2020, there were 45 road deaths reported (this compares to 20 homicides). The 654 people reported killed and seriously injured (KSI) in 2020 included 175 pedestrians, 100 cyclists and 115 motorcyclists. Most KSIs occurred on 30mph roads (414) with another 60 reported on 20mph roads.

There are 159 Roads policing officers covering West Yorkshire (up three officers from 2019/20). They account for 2.9% of total police in West Yorkshire, less than the national average (3.3%).

In 2020, there were 1,111 Drink driving prosecutions and 693 for Drug driving but only 254 Dangerous Driving prosecutions. So, there were seven times as many drink and drug drivers being prosecuted than dangerous drivers in West Yorkshire.

The latest analysis (2019) for the key offences of speeding and careless driving detected by officers in West Yorkshire found:

  • Speeding—the 2,661 speed limit offences detected by officers equated to 23.9 speed limit offences per 10 KSIs. This was just above the national average (21.9) but way below the average for the top five police services (60.9).
  • Careless driving—the 1,000 careless driving offences detected by officers equated to 8.7 per 10 KSIs, again better than the national average (6.1) but much lower than the average for the top five performing police services (20.5).

So room for improvement with enforcing both these key offences.  (Data on 2020 will be reported by the Home Office later this month).

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Plan survey

This survey is short and not all questions relate to road danger. Below AVZ has highlighted key opportunities to help ensure road danger is tackled.

Priority 1 Supporting victims and witnesses

You can choose three options. We encourage you to include the last two options shown which are:

  • improving victims and witnesses’ satisfaction with our police service 
  • increasing trust and confidence in our criminal justice system 

Other comments—you can provide more information along the lines below

Level of satisfaction is monitored with other victims (including burglary and sexual violence) but not crash victims. Please do treat road crime as crime and extend the victim level of satisfaction surveys to crash victims. This would be a good indicator of not just their satisfaction with the collision investigation and the charging decision but also how well they were kept informed. This includes timely information being provided in a sensitive manner.

Priority 3 Safer places and thriving communities

Do ensure the Mayor knows that Road safety, speeding and dangerous driving  is a very important priority for you and your family.

Other comments—again, you have the chance to expand on this issue

Careless driving can and does kill. It is not just dangerous driving that is deadly. West Yorkshire Police currently prioritise the fatal four (speeding, drink/drug driving, mobile phone, and seat belts) but not careless or dangerous driving. Both careless and dangerous driving deserve to be priority offences for police reducing road danger.

We need commitment to resourcing the Dash-Cam (Safer Roads Digital Submissions Portal) team so that dash and headcam submissions can be processed so that bad drivers are held to account. 

And speed enforcement, especially on roads shared with people walking and cycling is important. It should include but not depend upon Community Speedwatch.  We want the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Plan to commit to increasing both speed limit and careless driving enforcement. 

Special areas of focus

There are cross cutting themes which the Mayor also discusses.

What would you like to see the Mayor, West Yorkshire Police, and partner organisations do to help keep women and girls safe in West Yorkshire?

We would like to see more police on bicycles. This would allow them to be more visible and cover more ground without adding to our air pollution or climate emergency. 

We also want to see more women and girls cycling and thus showing they perceive it to be a safe activity. This too should be monitored.

What would help you to have more confidence in your local police?

Greater transparency would help promote confidence. It should be possible to know how much speeding and careless driving enforcement had been undertaken in recent months. This should be provided in a consistent manner so it is possible to compare time periods and between local areas. The community should be able to know how much speed enforcement is being undertaken on the roads where they are walking and cycling and thus at risk from motor vehicles.

Community participation is key to Community Speedwatch and Operation Snap. And the community deserves to be kept informed of the effect their efforts are having.

Provide any further comments you have on community safety in West Yorkshire or how the Police and Crime Plan can help make our communities safer:

Please refer to the 2021 West Yorkshire Mayoral Manifesto, which was coordinated by Action Vision Zero and supported by Action for Yorkshire Transport, Leeds parks and green space forum, 20’s Plenty for Us, Living Streets Leeds, RoadPeace, Sustrans and We are Cycling UK. This manifesto called for

  • Lower speeds and a move to a default 20 mph speed limit.
  • Vigorous enforcement with a focus on the priority offences of speeding drink/drug driving, careless driving, mobile phone use by drivers and uninsured vehicles. 

We believe that delivering on these calls would greatly improve community safety and cohesion in West Yorkshire. We ask that the Mayor works with the Magistrates Courts to ensure more speeding drivers are banned. In 2020, only 1% of drivers convicted at court for speeding in West Yorkshire were banned (In Warwickshire it was 11%). Drivers convicted at court for speeding will mainly be those whose speeding was so extreme they could not be offered a retraining course (NDORS) or given a Fixed Penalty Notice. These drivers pose serious risks to other road users and especially those walking and cycling and should be removed from the roads.

For more information see the most recent review of road safety we could find by the West Yorkshire Police (May 2021). And here is the latest data on court prosecutions of motoring offences in West Yorkshire. Contact Action Vision Zero for other information:

amy@actionvisionzero

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