Traffic police numbers drop by up to 70 percent

  • The number of traffic officers has fallen drastically across the country
  • Six in 10 drivers think there are not enough police officers to impose motoring laws
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A recent study from the RAC has shown that the number of traffic officers has fallen by nearly a quarter this decade, with some constabularies seeing numbers drop by as much as 70 percent.

Across Wales and England the volume of dedicated staff fell from 4,356 last March, from 5,635 four years previously.

Cornwall and Devon suffered the biggest cuts and did not have any new traffic officers employed on a full-time basis between March 2011 and 2013. Other losers include Essex, which had a 71 percent drop in traffic officer numbers, Nottinghamshire (a fall of 68 percent) and Wiltshire (47 percent).

Only Warwickshire and Suffolk has more traffic officers by the end of this timespan than at the start.

Pete Williams. RAC's External Affairs head, said: "These figures make a mockery of motoring law. If there are not enough police on the road, we can introduce all the new rules we want, but those breaking them just will not get caught.

"While cameras are good at catching speeders and drivers who go through red lights, offences that relate to general poor behaviour at the wheel still rely on a police officer to enforce them."

This is reflected in the RAC's 2014 Report on Motoring report which shows six in 10 drivers thought there were not enough police officers to impose motoring laws and think that law-breaking motorists stand little chance of being convicted unless it involves camera-enforced offences such as jumping red lights and speeding.

Out of the 35.8 million driving licence holders here in the UK just three million drivers have points on their licence. That said, more than one million drivers have been convicted of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving since 2003.

Four in 10 motorists think it is unlikely they will be caught texting while driving and according to the findings, 25 percent of company car drivers have been distracted by looking at their mobile phone or smartphone while on the move.

According to the report, speed still remains the number one contributory factor in road traffic accidents today,  41 percent of motorists feel that it is perfectly acceptable to travel at up to 80mph in a 70mph limit while 88 percent of company car drivers are more likely to exceed the speed limit on the motorway.

"The majority of motorists in England and Wales claim to obey the law of the road and would therefore like to think the minority of drivers that flout the rules stand more chance of getting caught and properly punished than they seem to at the moment,” Williams concluded.

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