England and Wales has “the fewest number of roads policing officers in recorded history”, a conference has been told.
John Giblin, Federation lead on roads policing, said the crucial role traffic officers play in tackling crime needs to be recognised by politicians. Mr Giblin said roads policing officers on average deal with the trauma and consequences of five deaths per day and twice as many serious injuries on our roads.
Mr Giblin said: “Policing the roads is a serious, high public profile business and deserves far better understanding from some Chief Officers, PCC’s, politicians and HMIC for what it does in keeping the public safe.”
He said fatal or serious road accidents “have an unimaginable impact on close family members and friends of the victims, yet police officers are also badly affected by what they have to deal with.
“Policing is not all about crime. It’s also about dealing with tragedy and no more is that evidenced than by 2000 deaths on our roads each year.”
He was speaking at the Federation and ACPO annual Roads Policing Conference.
Mr Giblin told delegates: “The last year has seen another significant decrease in police finances and front line officers and we now have the fewest number of roads policing officers in England and Wales in recorded history.
“Yet the pressure and demands to meet operational requirements and service front line policing needs is as demanding as ever. The service is losing vital skills, experience and operational resilience that are not being replaced.”
At the conference, Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, announced £120,000 in funding for station-based cannabis screening devices.
He added that a number of police forces will soon begin using to familiarise themselves with screening technology. Mr McLoughlin said: “The new devices mean there will be no need to wait for a medical practitioner to advise whether a driver’s condition is the result of taking a drug. That will save time and money. We are also working to get mobile screening devices available.”
Mr Giblin said: “We can catch more criminals, do more preventative work, gather more vital intelligence and apply that to front line policing if we could harness better co-ordinated equipment use and then make sure we operate it in a consistent way.”
Date posted: January 23, 2014