Roads policing in the West Midlands has been praised by government inspectors in a new report.
The report, from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), highlighted the success of West Midlands Police's use of daily analysis which has helped target collisions, the ‘fatal four’ offences (speed, drink and drugs, seatbelts and mobile phone) motor insurance databases, and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) information, which analysts have innovatively used to produce intelligence assessments.
The intelligence has meant that there was a clear focus on reducing serious collisions and reducing criminal use of the roads.
The HMICFRS Inspection report in roads policing examined seven forces; WMP, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Humberside, Metropolitan, Staffordshire and South Wales.
Intelligence briefings included details of offenders that cause the most harm, such as disqualified and repeat drink drivers, and the use of the road by organised crime gangs. Initiatives by the force has reduced the number of casualties on our roads and disrupted criminal activity.
Assistant Chief Constable Danny Long, who looks after roads policing, said: “We are pleased that HMICFRS has recognised the investment we have made in roads policing and our work to reduce serious and fatal collisions on our roads. It has made specific positive references about West Midlands Police and the Central Motorway Police Group, a strong collaboration with Staffordshire Police, within the report.
“We are also pleased that the inspection recognises the contribution our roads policing resources make in tackling serious and organised crime also. We do not do this alone but alongside many partners to make our roads safe and secure.”
Former Road Safety Minister and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson welcomed publication of the HMICFRS review, but said that action to address the problems revealed in the report is “long overdue”.
David said, “The number of people dying on our roads is rising. Organised criminals use the road network to support their illegal activities. The safe and efficient running of the road network is critical to the economy. Good roads policing is critical to the response to all of these issues, and this report found that, with a few exceptions, policing is not dealing effectively with the challenge. Concerted action by government, the police and a range of partners is long overdue. I urge the government, and in particular the Policing Minister, to revise their position on the priority given to roads policing.
“I have prioritised roads policing since I took office in 2014, and I am glad to see this effort recognised in the report. The Central Motorway Police Group and the West Midlands Police Roads Policing Team are exemplars, and I am hugely grateful for the efforts of these expert and diligent officers.
“I hope the recommendations are implemented at the earliest opportunity, but we need to go further. We need to see police forces working together regionally and nationally rather than withdrawing from roads policing collaborations. We need better partnership working between local authorities, highways agencies, the police and other partners to ensure the road network is seamlessly managed. We need to see government allow local retention of income from enforcement to be directed towards road safety.
“I am glad to have had the opportunity to contribute to this review, and I am pleased to see so many of the recommendations I made reflected in the report.”