Number of traffic cops in Derbyshire falls by half in decade

The AA says: "We need more cops in cars, not fewer."
The AA says: "We need more cops in cars, not fewer."

The number of dedicated traffic police officers in Derbyshire has fallen by almost half in 10 years, new figures reveal.

Across the county, 64 traffic police officers are employed today compared to 87 in 2012 and 125 in 2007 - a decrease of 48.8 per cent.

Bill McWilliam, Derbyshire Constabulary's Assistant Chief Constable, said: "Derbyshire Constabulary is no different from many other forces in seeing a reduction to its budget over the last 10 years and therefore a reduction in officers.

"The work undertaken by our traffic officers, using advances in technology, continues to have the primary aim of making the roads in Derbyshire the safest they can be and this work will continue."

All 45 police forces in England and Wales were asked how many dedicated traffic officers they have today compared with five and 10 years ago.

The results reveal that the number is down 30 per cent since 2007.

In 2007 there were 3,766 traffic officers in posts in the forces which responded. That figure stood at 3,472 in 2012. By 2017 it had dropped to 2,643.

Experts have questioned how new laws, such as the ban on using mobiles while driving, can be enforced with 30 per cent fewer officers dedicated to policing the country’s roads.

The AA said the decline could see more drivers getting away with crimes.

A spokesman said: "We need more cops in cars, not fewer.

"The UK has among the safest roads in Europe, although the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads has started to rise after many years of steady decline. Maybe there is a link?"

Jason Wakeford, from road safety charity Brake, added: "On average, five people die every single day on our roads. This is unacceptable.

"The Government and police forces have to start treating road policing as a national priority and reverse the savage cuts to officer numbers."

The Home Office said deployment of resources was a matter for chief constables and crime commissioners, who 'understand their operational needs better than anyone'.

A spokesman said: "The Government has protected overall police spending in real terms since the Spending Review 2015 and we will always ensure forces have the resources they need to do their vitally important work.

"Effective roads policing is not necessarily dependent on dedicated road traffic officers: the use of technology, other police personnel and local communities also have a role to play."