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Police: Road Traffic Control

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make it Government policy to ensure that an increased proportion of police officers is deployed on road traffic enforcement duties. (158146)

[holding answer 15 October 2007]: The allocation and deployment of resources are operational matters for individual chief officers of police. It is right that day to day decisions should be taken at the local level in the light of changing situations and circumstances and public concerns at different times and in different places.

We have made clear on numerous occasions our view of the importance of roads policing, including by references in National Policing Plans and the National Community Safety Plan. In January 2005, the Home Office, Department for Transport and ACPO issued a jointly agreed national Roads Policing Strategy to set roads policing in the context of over-all police work, establish continuing priorities and identify under- pinning principles for operational practice and the development of policy. Ministers wrote earlier this year to all chief officers stressing the importance of roads policing and of treating offences on the roads as seriously as other offences.

We do not believe it helpful to focus exclusively on numbers. More effective roads policing is in general delivered chiefly by better use of intelligence, more targeting and more efficient use of resources. The Government have, moreover, increased the number of police over-all by more than 14, 000. This means more officers available for all aspects of police work, including roads policing. All police officers can enforce road traffic legislation as appropriate, whether or not they are dedicated to roads policing.