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Police Numbers Down Tragedies Up

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Police Numbers Down Tragedies Up

Geoff Maxted
September 26, 2013

Bike Lane
Road safety charities are shouting out for action following a rise in drink driving and cyclist deaths on our roads. In 2012 drink driving fatalities rose by an enormous seventeen percent although the total number of road deaths fell. 17% - that’s 280 souls. Add to that a further twelve hundred seriously injured where the accidents all involved drink in some capacity. That’s a lot of needless suffering, one way or another, because of someone over-zealously bending the elbow.

When you think about how much various governments and authorities have spent over the years targeting this offence and how well, by and large, the campaigns have done it is clear that the economic woes that beset us all have, as we know, had an effect on police numbers. This is the result. England and Wales now have the highest drink drive casualties in Europe (except Malta, curiously) and despite this Westminster does not plan to reduce the DD limit further, unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, who are. The limit however may not be the whole story.

It is inevitable these days that, as soon as barriers are removed, there is a percentage of the population who take advantage. The hard core of boozers who have always ‘taken a chance’ feel easier in that there has been a reduction of cops on our road. Most reasonable people would not want a return to the dark days where motorists were clearly picked on for the slightest error, but what would be nice is if we had a return to the days when there was a visible police presence that dealt with offences in a balanced way.

No doubt cyclists feel the same. If you set aside the fanatical hard-core anti-car brigade - and you have to - the figures show that deaths amongst cyclists are also on the up. 118 deaths and this at a time when the population is taking to cycling as a pastime thanks to our sporting victories. Trying to convince people to take to two wheels without giving them the infrastructure to do it is a recipe for disaster.

DriveWrite for one is sick to death of listening to pointless politic-speak. The numbers speak for themselves. How is it possible that the function of one of the most important aspects of our society - public order - can be such a shambles thanks to the demands of accountants? Visible policing is a deterrent. Actual police action should be balanced by fairness - the punishment fitting the crime - and not an excuse for fund raising. Time for action on drink driving.

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