Amongst other cuts, back in 2010 the government announced it would reduce police funding across all of our police forces. To meet the new budget targets police chiefs gradually began to reduce their spending by cutting back on specialist policing areas which included the number of traffic officers.
Over a five-year period dating back to 2012, the tax payer has seen the number of traffic officers on our roads fall by a quarter, this now equates to just 2,643 traffic officers left completely focused on keeping our roads safe. Incredibly, some forces reported a fall of over 80% in this field of policing due to the enforced government cuts.
So, have these government cuts had an impact on our overall road safety?
Well the Department for Transport reported 1,792 fatalities on our roads back in 2016, which was the highest number recorded on record since 2011, that was an increase of 4% compared to 2015. Last year the total number of people breathalysed on the roadside by police was down by 21 per cent compared to 2012. However, the number of fatalities caused by drink driving remained at the same level.
In 2013 there were 65,000 new and used cars stolen, and even with the ever-improving motor trade advancements in car security; over 85,000 vehicles were still stolen across England and Wales last year!
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We saw speeding fines and traffic offences increase in 2017 to a six year high, with over 2 million drivers penalised for an offence. These drivers also probably saw an increase in their insurance policy as well as facing the full force of the law. Whether you like it or not, the number of speed cameras on our roads is still on the increase, and even though they can still catch someone breaking the law by speeding or jumping a red light, the drink-drivers, mobile phone users and car thieves will get away with a crime without the right police officers patrolling the roads.
We should always have enough police enforcement to keep us and our prized precessions safe on the roads. Hopefully, if we get enough traffic officers patrolling, the law continually enforced and ongoing driver education, it might just start to reduce the number of accidents, crimes and traffic offences.