24 April 2017
Speeding drivers face harsher fines from today but the Federation remains concerned at falling numbers of traffic cops.
Tim Rogers, Roads Policing lead for the Federation of England and Wales, said: “Anything which acts as a deterrent for irresponsible drivers is obviously a good thing. From next week they will be hit where it hurts – in their wallets – as they could be fined nearly double their weekly income.
“But the thin blue line on our roads has now been eroded so much that it remains to be seen how effective these measures are going to be in reality. I really hope the prospect of dishing out hundreds or thousands of pounds in fines will make drivers think twice before they get behind the wheel. However, due to the continued budget cuts over the past few years, there has been a very noticeable decline in the number of traffic police to enforce the law.
“There are now less than 5000 (4,800) roads policing officers, which is almost less than half the number we had in 2000. That 4,800 figure includes specialist collision investigators, speed enforcement officers and HGV specialists, as well as those on general patrol. So at any one time, the numbers of roads policing officers actually out and about on the roads can be an awful lot less.
“Time will tell whether the number of speeding motorists actively drops. We may see an increase in not guilty pleas as motorists are faced with the prospects of higher fines, putting extra pressure on the judicial system. But where they are found guilty, we need the judiciary to strictly apply the new rules to send a message to other drivers.”