Former London Assembly member Baroness Jenny Jones has urged police forces across the country to follow the capital’s example and protect investment in traffic officer numbers.
The Green party peer and road safety campaigner made the call in the foreword to a new report from RoadPeace which highlights how prosecutions for motoring offences have fallen over the past five years.
Figures released by the campaign show ‘fail to stop’ prosecutions fell by 32% despite an increase in the number of hit and run casualties and that drink/drug driving prosecutions fell by 16%.
During the same period the number of vulnerable road users killed or seriously injured in England (outside London) and Wales rose while the number of police officers employed by forces saw a “disproportionate decline” and fell by 28%.
Baroness Jones, who previously sat on London’s police authority and the Assembly’s police and crime committee which scrutinises the Met, says forces outside the capital need to follow its example and protect their roads and traffic policing teams.
The force, along with Transport for London, has invested in a new transport policing command which supports initiatives such as the Operation Safeway campaign which highlights the dangers motorists can pose to pedestrians and cyclists.
In addition to safeguarding its traffic policing, London has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in safer road layouts, pedestrian crossings and dedicated cycle lanes.
In her foreword, Baroness Jones writes: “Due to the political support of the London Mayor’s office and money from Transport for London, the number of traffic police in London has been relatively protected since 2001.
“This contrasts with the rapid decline in traffic police throughout the rest of England and Wales.
“There are many reasons why London has had continued success in making roads safer, while the rest of the country has got worse, but roads policing appears to be one of the biggest factors.
“The lesson is clear. If you want to save lives and prevent injuries on the road you need to reverse the cuts in traffic police numbers.”