Auto Express is reporting that England and Wales have seen the number of full time traffic police officers in operation fall by almost a third since the start of 2010. With just 3,742 officers currently on the roads as dedicated traffic roles, this is a far cry from the 5,327 that were working 6 years ago.
Out of a total 42 Traffic Police Forces throughout England and Wales, all but 6 of those reported a fall in the number of employees. This figure becomes more of a concern when you consider that the amount of legislation regarding motoring has increased.
This new legislation includes tailgating offences and middle lane hogging, as well as changes to roadside drug-driving tests and HGV speed limits. You may also remember the recently announced changes to smoking laws in the car as well.
The most heavily hit area in the UK has been in the West Midlands where traffic police in action has fallen from 351 to just 115 in the last 5 years. In addition the City of London Police no longer operates an independent traffic unit.
One reason for the fall in numbers is the way departments have been merged over recent years which has left most local forces with the discretion to allocate their own resources. A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman added: “Individual police forces decide themselves how best to allocate resources and keep their communities safe.
“Some may decide to reduce the numbers of specialist traffic officers, but this does not necessarily mean that their roads are not adequately policed. They can deploy a range of resources, including specialist modern technology, and use public information reports and guidance about road offenders.
“All police officers are available to help those who are traffic policing specialists when needed. Every chief constable takes good care to ensure that road users in their area are kept as safe as possible.”