Brake calls for investment in road policing

28/09/2016
Highways Reporters

New figures show a drop of almost 40% in the number of people caught using phones behind the wheel, with road safety charity Brake calling for urgent investment in road policing.

The figures revealed by the BBC after a freedom of information request show that the number of people caught has dropped from 177,900 to 93,606 between 2011-12 and 2015-16. That is a reduction of almost 40%. The majority of the decrease has been seen in the last two years.

The Police Federation says the number of dedicated road traffic officers has been hugely reduced over the last few years. There has been a 23% reduction in the number of full-time equivalent traffic police officers from 5,635 in 2010 to 4,356 in 2014. Reductions have been experienced in 41 of the 43 forces.

The government recently confirmed plans to double fines and penalty points for using a phone behind the wheel, but without sufficient officers to enforce this, Brake is concerned even the new tougher penalties may not be seen as a real deterrent.

Twenty one police forces (see table below) saw their conviction rate drop by more than half and just two police forces have seen the numbers of people caught increase in that period: Norfolk and West Yorkshire.

Alice Bailey, communications and campaigns advisor for Brake said: “It would be wonderful to think this drop is down to people getting the message about the dangers of mobile phone use, but sadly we don’t think this is the case. A recent report called mobile use behind the wheel 'an epidemic', with our own studies showing more half of drivers in some age groups admitting they still use a phone while driving. As our police forces have faced major budget reductions, road traffic officers have too often been seen as a soft option for cuts, they are an essential part of the service and save lives. As the government brings in tougher new penalties for this crime it must make sure it resources our police forces properly so this is a real deterrent.”

 
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































How many drivers were caught using their mobile phones while driving
2011-122012-132013-142014-152015-16
AVON/SOMERSET1756137111341060854
BEDFORDSHIRE160714211250989730
CAMBRIDGESHIRE22682998284024761828
CHESHIRE39352677329622772062
CITY OF LONDON514348229277340
CUMBRIA13831129953833634
DERBYSHIRE15231016131112731217
DORSET3539218615311214925**
DURHAM881651552417398
GLOUCESTERSHIRE1124868889790857
GREATER MANCHESTER76059140453430242885
HAMPSHIRE59365372547962724986
HERTFORDSHIRE33893425361327431652
HUMBERSIDE29342510155711881137
KENT449627471404822723
LANCASHIRE6029477425599711093
LEICESTERSHIRE1567132414101209653**
LINCOLNSHIRE18101473168614051042
MERSEYSIDE57724399361540432490
MET3092328150280452303619610
NORFOLK1935158610228362287
NORTH YORKSHIRE22151412998786702
NORTHANTS14101110794658489
SOUTH YORKSHIRE37432690223316401374
SURREY38542655259723391646
SUSSEX59814268247418461424
THAMES VALLEY1122111845106681085310103
WARWICKS918979773646750
WEST MERCIA25642565306722352336
WEST MIDLANDS66944100268421402818
WEST YORKSHIRE13354489474124533107
WILTSHIRE200814621372664412**
NORTHERN IRELAND95618420784971936550
SCOTLAND2831130243357321792210061
DYFED POWYS26032590248812541493
NORTH WALES15991800157015181058
SOUTH WALES2957198512741316880
TOTAL17790016217815022311261893606
YR ON YEAR FALL8.87.42516.9

 
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