Roads policing strategy
61. In January 2005 a Roads Policing Strategy was
published jointly by the Department for Transport, Association
of Chief Police Officers and the Home Office.
The publication of the Roads Policing Strategy was broadly welcomed.
The Strategy set a focus on:
- denying criminals use of the
- reducing road casualties;
- tackling terrorism;
- reducing antisocial use of roads;
- providing reassurance to the public.
62. Publication of the joint strategy is a step forward
and given it is only 18 months into the strategy it is arguably
too early to judge results. Nevertheless, we heard criticisms
that the Strategy had not had the impact on roads policing that
was anticipated. The Police Federation told us: "In reality
we have seen no higher priority or investment given to the work
of traffic officers following the introduction of the Joint Roads
There was criticism of the fact that there is still no national
mandate to implement the strategy at force level, and not all
forces have adopted it.
63. It is hard to judge the impact the strategy has
made because the police have yet to adopt outcome performance
indicators to judge progress.
In terms of good practice, we would expect the framework for evaluating
a strategy to be introduced at the same point as the strategy
itself, or very soon afterward. It is very disappointing that
the Strategy is over a year old, and there is still no agreement
on what indicators should be used to judge its effectiveness.
The Strategy included a commitment to develop indicators of outcome,
and proposed these should include:
- The proportion of breath tests
following collisions which show positive, providing an indicator
of the prevalence of drink-driving, which can be monitored over
- Data from speed monitoring devices such as those
at safety camera sites, which provide an indicator of the prevalence
- Data on levels of observed compliance with seat
belt use; and
- Local opinion polling to monitor how safe and
secure people feel on the roads.
The Home Office Minister committed to review the
success of the Roads Policing Strategy in the near future: "there
is no point in having a strategy unless you measure its effectiveness.
That is something we will be considering in the near future: how
and when to review and measure the effectiveness of the Strategy."
As we are now 18 months into the Strategy, there is a risk that
any outcome measures adopted might appear to be based on the easy
wins already identified rather than the most challenging targets
that ought to be set.
the introduction of the Roads Policing Strategy was broadly welcomed
there has been some doubt over the actual impact it has had. The
Home Office, Department for Transport and ACPO must jointly commit
to evaluate its effectiveness and set outcome performance indicators
to assist such judgements. It is of concern that not all forces
have adopted the strategythe Home Office should put in
place the incentives to ensure all do so.
Emphasis of the Strategy
65. There is concern that the emphasis on 'denying
criminals the use of the road' and 'tackling terrorism' may detract
from road casualty reduction efforts.
The links between road crime and other mainstream crime have begun
to be realised. These links are important. The development of
some technologies has intensified this transition, for example
Automatic Number Plate Recognition equipment. Nonetheless, if
this connection were to result in the re-deployment of roads police
officers away from road casualty reduction work, and into detecting
'mainstream' criminals when they are on the road, this would be
66. There is a fear that the emphasis in the strategy
separates traffic law offenders from other types of offenders,
and that the implication is that 'mainstream offenders' should
be prioritised above traffic offenders. Living Streets, a charity
which campaigns for a better environment for people on foot, stated:
] Roads Policing Strategy [
to reinforce a view that the police should focus on offenders
who fit into being an "other" in opposition to the "normal"
road user. The "others" in this case being criminals,
yobs and terrorists [
] Whilst we agree that these are important
] there is a danger that this adds to a perception
that only certain kinds of offences and offenders will be dealt
To some extent this fear was confirmed by HM Inspectorate
of Constabulary which explained that in assessing the quality
of roads policing operations, more attention was given to this
agenda, than a road safety agenda:
Some emphasis was put on the level of casualty reduction
through the intelligence, prevention and enforcement functions
when inspecting Roads Policing as a protective service, but the
main focus of the review was denying criminals the use of the
67. The Home Office Minister indicated that it is
not a case of 'either/or' but instead 'both/and'.
We agree that roads policing should be well integrated into other
types of policing and that there can be advantages to this type
of cross-over. We were less reassured, however, when the Minister
described how integrating roads policing into tackling other types
of offending would increase resources for roads policing:
The chief constable is likely to invest more money
if, in putting the kit in the vehicles or giving it to police
officers out in the community, they are dealing not only with
roads policing but other aspects of policing as well, because
if you can deal with antisocial behaviour, the use of uninsured
vehicles, possible terrorist threats, drug dealers as well as
enforcing roads policing more generally clearly he is getting
a bigger bang for the buck that he is investing.
is a matter for concern that the emphasis of roads policing has
to some extent transferred from road casualty reduction work to
tackling terrorism. Both objectives are clearly extremely important.
The need to deal with terrorism should not reduce efforts or resources
in what should be a core policing function that includes tackling
the driving offences most likely to result in a collision; such
as speeding and impaired driving.