CUTBACKS in roads policing have been criticised in a new report from the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.
The report highlights a widespread belief that a failure to reduce the number of deaths on the road is at least partly due to a downgrading of roads policing.
The number of officers dedicated to roads policing in England and Wales has fallen since 2010, including an 18% decrease between 2015 and 2019. Some 1,800 people die on UK roads each year and over 25,000 people are seriously injured.
But Hampshire Police Federation Chairman Alex Charge said all areas of policing have suffered as a result of austerity.
He explained: “Austerity has done this to policing across the board. I don’t want to particularly single out that we need more detectives, we need more roads policing officers. We need more of everything. We need more investment, we need more people.
“That investment needs to be over a sustained period of time and, rather than a yearly budget, police bosses need to be told: ‘This is a plan for the next five or 10 years, how much money you’ve got to invest in your staff’.
“When you start to recruit police officers, you recruit them for 30 years potentially, so you need the budget to be able to move that forward.
“If you need to build extra police stations, they cost a lot of money. So the priority for me is really simple: more investment in policing, in every aspect of policing, and over a sustained period of time.”
Alex said that he understood that Covid-19 had cost the Government a lot of money, but he hoped it didn’t use the pandemic as a “political convenience to move back to austerity”, which would cause “irreparable damage to the police service”.