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More traffic police needed (and cameras)

31 October 2006

  • Key committee of MPs calls for more traffic police
  • Traffic police numbers fell 21% over five years
  • Committee also wants more cameras to be used

Speeding pic medium

A key group of influential MPs is calling for an increase in the number of traffic police on the UK's roads.

The Transport Select Committee says more traffic police are desperately needed to enforce laws that can't be managed by cameras.

It points to the fact that while the number of breath tests has fallen in line with dwindling police numbers, the number of positive tests and drink-drive casualties have risen.

Traffic officer numbers fell 21% between 1999 and 2004, but so little priority is now given to traffic policing that the committee says it is impossible to tell how many officers there are.

It says the Home Office should incorporate traffic policing into the national policing plan, and that individual police forces should be told that cameras and other technology should supplement officers' work and never replace them.

The committee's report, 'Roads Policing and Technology - Getting the Balance Right', calls for a change in emphasis.

Committee chairman Gwyneth Dunwoody MP said 'You can't assume that a camera is going to replace somebody who can assess when a driver has been drinking or has been taking drugs that make them unable to drive.'

The report says cameras and technology continue to have a key role to play in road safety. It says current laws that only allow cameras to be placed where there is a record of accidents resulting in serious injuries or death is a 'disgrace'.

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