Roads policing needs to be made more of a priority to bring down the ‘shocking’ numbers of deaths on the roads, says Sergeant Aaron Murphy.
Aaron, Cambridgeshire Police Federation’s roads policing unit rep, was responding to the Federation’s Roads Policing Seminar, which heard that five people die every day in road traffic collisions.
A roads policing sergeant for five years before becoming a Joint Protective Service staff officer in October, Aaron said a greater police presence on the roads would help to cut the numbers of deaths.
“Five deaths a day is a shocking figure,” he said. “It’s all about enforcement and visibility.
“A couple of the speakers made the comment in the seminar they had travelled a long way across the country on the strategic road network and didn’t see a single traffic car.
“Somebody also mentioned seeing a police car on the motorway and there was a couple of people who were driving erratically and the mere sight of that police vehicle stopped that behaviour straight away.
“So visibility, prevention, enforcement is going to reduce road deaths – and that needs money and it needs investment.
“However, we have to be cognisant to the fact that we’ve got to do more with less, and that policing landscape is not going to improve, certainly not in the foreseeable future.”
Aaron described the seminar is ‘interesting and informative’.
“The input about restorative justice was timely,” he said. “Criminal justice looks different to different people.
“Criminal justice for some means they want to see the offender go to jail and go to jail for a long time, which is not always the case.
“Justice for some people is a bit more pastoral and restorative. It’s getting round the table and speaking to the offender to establish the why’s and wherefores of what’s happened.
“I thought that was really quite interesting.”
He described as ‘helpful’ a discussion on the new legislation, which aims to give police drivers greater protection in law.
Tim Rogers, the national Federation’s pursuits and driver training lead, described the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 as ‘a great bit of legislation’.
However, he warned it ‘risks failing to achieve its potential due to errant application’ by some chief officers.
The new legislation was introduced after a long-running campaign by the Federation, and Tim, who is also secretary of West Midlands Police Federation, said it had the power ‘when correctly applied’ to give police drivers much better protection in law.
Addressing a discussion on the effectiveness of the new act, Tim warned that some chief officers have not familiarised themselves with their obligations in order for it to provide drivers with the full protection.
“It was a perverse situation that saw officers being prosecuted for simply doing what they are trained and expected to do in keeping the elected government of the day’s public safe,” he said.
“I’m happy, and the Federation is happy with the new legislation, and we’re grateful to our partners in the Home Office, NPPC and those other supportive partners who helped us facilitate this change.”
It means an officer’s driving is now judged by the standard of their peers, in line with their skills and training. But, and it is a critical point to note, officers have to be licensed and up to date with their training and that training has to be delivered by fully accredited trainers working for a force that hold the appropriate training licence. They must deliver only the prescribed training as per Statutory Instrument 1112.
The debate heard from Jo Boxall-Hunt, subject matter expert from the College of Policing, who spoke about the licensing requirements under the new legislation.
Aaron said: “The input from Jo was really helpful.
“It was interesting to know they’re going to take same approach in the College of Policing as they do for Taser, and set out standards for learning and development, driver training, and that this is the standard we’re expecting everybody to get to.
“I’m sure we’ll have assurances from our chief officer group that we are where we need to be.”
Visit the Federation’s YouTube page to watch the available sessions.