Recent reports have showed a potentially worrying downward trend in the amount of law enforcement on roads in both England and Wales. Data that has been collected between 2010 and 2015 has been analysed by Auto Express and current figures show that there are only 3,742 full time traffic police officers in action. This is a dramatic fall from the total of 5,327 at the start of 2010.
There are a total of 42 Police Forces in England and Wales covering local areas, and of those, 36 revealed that they had seen a decrease in the number of traffic police.
Despite this trend, there has been a whole host of new motoring legislation introduced in the last few years, most recently with the introduction of smoking laws which make drivers responsible not only for their own health but the health of their passengers as well. In addition, new laws introduced cover a range of offences including tailgating offences and middle lane hogging, as well as changes to roadside drug-driving tests and HGV speed limits.
The area with the most dramatic fall was in the West Midlands, which now has just 115 active full time traffic officers, a stark contrast to the 351 that were in action 5 years ago.
And in London major changes have seen the dissolution of a recognised independent traffic unit.
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.”