The Government and traffic - midlifecrisis
It was recently raised in the House of Commons that over the last three years, road deaths had risen from 3421 to 3450. At the same time, Traffic Officers have fallen by 8%, with the Met losing a quarter.
Bob Ainsworth, Home Office Minister, said: " The importance given to traffic policing should not be measured solely by the number of dedicated traffic officers, and does not depend on increases or decreases in the number of such officers."
A campaign at the same time found that two thirds of all vehicles stopped on the M25 were defective.
Those of us at the sharp end know that we are hanging on by our fingernails, gradually being replaced by the much cheaper (and far more profitable) speed camera. Unfortunately, the camera does not catch disqualified/drink drivers, dangerous drivers etc etc.
As the Government often like to quote statistics, it is strange that they ignore the fact that road deaths have risen, while speed cameras have proliferated and traffic officers have declined.
I expect the local politicians will be asking for your support in the upcoming elections. I know one party who will definitely not be getting my vote.
The Government and traffic - Morris Ox
Don't think for one moment that it would change things, MLC.

The 'measure the results' rather than 'get results' faction started gaining currency well before the arrival of El Presidente Blair. Who was in power when PACE came in? Not saying it was a bad idea, but there are many who'd argue it was a flawed concept.

But if your underlying message is that complex law enforcement solutions usually bring simple failure I'm with you all the way.
The Government and traffic - frostbite
Just out of interest MLC, I appreciate that nowadays the traffic boys and girls are largely 'a division within a division', but wonder whether you would like to see something more like the US Highway Patrol introduced?
The Government and traffic - volvoman
I agree with everything MLC says and would like to see many more traffic police with stricter laws and more stringent enforcement/punishment especially for repeat offenders.

If I don't speed, run a dodgy motor, have insurance/MOT or drive dangerously what have I got to fear ? The more traffic police there are to catch the morons who cause most of the accidents, the safer the rest of us will be. Mind you I don't think our so-called government see it quite like that. Keep your chin up MLC and stay safe !
The Government and traffic - HF
What a surprise to see you posting a political point, V! ;))
The Government and traffic - Tom Shaw
I suspect that road death figures have gone about as low as we can reasonably expect them to. With the millions of miles covered per annum collisions are bound to happen until such a time as control of the vehicle is taken away from the driver and our vehicles are guided by satallite or radar, something that will probably begin to happen within the next couple of decades given the progress of technological developement we see today.

In the sixties, with far fewer vehicles on the road the annual death toll was over ten thousand, and I believe the peak was something like 26,000 during the wartime blackout. We have cut these figures by a combination of traffic congestion which have cut speeds considerably and by building cars which protect the occupants when a collision occurs, not by improving our driving standards.

The Utopian ideal of zero road deaths is something that can never happen while fallible human beings are in control of machines which can travel together at 70mph and more. Even in the days of horse transport the annual death toll was higher than it is today.
The Government and traffic - Dwight Van Driver
You have my sympathy MLC for I was there prior to the late 70's/80's, the halcyon days and then the rot started.

Until such time you have the higher echelon made up of those that have been through 'The Mill', instead of rising through the ranks from inside offices and on the backs of others. Instead of pontifying from warm offices and golf course, show service to the Public who pay their wages instead of personal advancement - how many Chiefs do you know that serve more than 6 years in the same Force? - then your saddled with what you have got today. They come, churn up the Force and depart to pastures new to do the same again. Can you name one who has yet to mention the destruction of Public support and co-operation through Speed Cameras erected at sites against the critera of accident spot.

My day in North Riding Yorkshire Constabulary we had three cars out on the A.1 between Dishforth and Scotch Corner with two on nights. Other roads were similarly covered. Now you have a job to see one.In addition to the central role of Traffic enforcement a benefit never appreciated by the 'new boys' was the amount of crime a well staffed Traffic Division cleared up through attacking the travelling criminal which no camera or electronic device will capture.

Until you get Chiefs with some backbone and prepared to take a stand on Policing matters of importance against HMG and the Home Office PC boys and their paper exercises then you are doomed.

The Government and traffic - Flat in Fifth
Unfortunately, just like most organisations, the higher up the tree, the greater the influence of the office politicians and PC buzz speak ruling the day in defiance of common sense.

Fewer and fewer around of the wise old traffic gaffers who come out with advice like, "If you chase someone whose only offence is speeding then you've just doubled the risk to the public. Him AND you!"

And when you get Divisional Commanders (no names no packdrill)looking as if they've just conquered potty training it does not inspire confidence in the troops and public.

Personally I thought the pre CPS days where the police brought their own prosecutions were better. The evidence being thought through properly, had to be right, near enough not good enough IMHO. Of course it means a totally different staffing level.

re churning up the Force followed by pastures new. Not referring to K.H. by any chance? ;-)

The Government and traffic - Cardew
And when you get Divisional Commanders (no names no packdrill)looking as if they've just conquered potty training it does not inspire confidence in the troops and public.

Let me say at the start I am very much on the side of the police and feel we are well served by them. However your statement above should not go unchallenged.

For years the police resisted the introduction of a fast track 'officer class' in the manner of the Armed Services. Now it has been introduced(in a fashion) it can only improve the Police service if high quality graduates - lawyers etc can join and have accelerated promotion and bring new thinking to bear.

Is it really necessary to spend many years on the beat or in a squad car to appreciate all of the problems. Officers in the Army aren't expected to spend years as an infantryman; they are trained to lead and an essential part of that training is listening to the Corporals and Sergeants who have the experience. Similarly a young Superintendent etc can take advice from older and more experienced Coppers.

The Government and traffic - Flat in Fifth

As I'm sure you appreciate I too support the boys-in-blue and consider, despite the umpty % rise for West Mercia in my latests council tax bill that MLC and his cronies are worth twice the money. But...

When graduates come out of university they *might* if they are very very good students know all the ins and outs of some particular subject, even if it is the law. But in reality they know square root of beggar all in how to apply in practice. So they have to be trained.

And don't even try... no; don't even *begin* to try to compare plod training with the likes of the officer training at Dartmouth, Sandhurst and Cranwell.

The Government and traffic - Andrew-T
Cardew - this mechanism sounds to me a bit like the manager class that have taken over trying to run the railways (which were carved up to create more job opportunities for them). I don't believe there was any job training for them either, so they may know which is the front of a train, but not much more.
The Government and traffic - Cardew
I obviously haven't made myself clear.

I was most certainly not comparing standard 'plod' training with officer training at the 3 Armed Service establishments; just the opposite!

You made the point that young Divisional Commanders did not inspire confidence.

I was pointing out that the police have - at long last - introduced a 'fast track'(high potential development) entry scheme where entrants can get promoted quickly and get to the National Police College and get the professional training for 'Command' appointments at a much earlier age.

In the past the Police Service(generally) did not attract recruits of the same calibre as those for Officer training in the Armed Forces. An officer in the Army could, and can, reach the rank of Major at aged 31 and Lt Col at 37. Under the old police promotion system you would be pushed to make Sgt and Inspector at those ages. At least the new police 'fast track' system has gone some way toward the introduction of officer training without the necessity of spending years on the beat.

So for me, a youthful senior police officer inspires as much confidence as a youthful Army officer.

The Government and traffic - midlifecrisis
Before I joined the Police I passaed through Dartmouth and served as a Naval Officer. You simply cannot compare the two. I wouldn't have been given command of a Frigate five years from joining the Navy. My level of experience simply wouldn't have reached the required level, despite having been at sea for four of those years. However, 'fast-track'officers serve two years probation, disappear into office posts for three years and can re-emerge as Superintendants with a Divisional Command. They may have never attended a serious incident/accident in their life. The Police Service is rapidly reaching a point where it is led by civilians in uniform. You cannot understand the job unless you've been there. Most of the new breed haven't.
The Government and traffic - Cardew
I am well acquainted with the thrust of your argument, and aware that many of your colleagues have similar reservations. However I respectfully disagree that "you can't understand the job until you have been there;" although clearly there are advantages to have more personal experience.

There are currently Generals, and I suspect Admirals, without a single campaign medal and the majority of the Army officers in Iraq had not previously seen combat.

I do not disagree that to expect an officer to be a Divisional Commander as a Superintendent 3 years after probation is unrealistic - and I have never seen such rapid promotion.

None of the 3 Services expect to get their senior officers for Command appointments from officers commissioned after many years in non-commissioned rank; and neither, IMHO, should the police.

Which brings me back to where I entered this discussion - that a youthful looking Divisional Commander can also inspire confidence.
The Government and traffic - Flat in Fifth
MLC, thanks for the support, and I guess you know mine is reciprocal.

Cardew, my last reply was a bit snippy, sorry for that

Recognising that one of us is adopting a slight devil's advocate approach, and that might apply to both of us, I really do see the principle behind what you are saying.

The optimum approach is almost certainly somewhere between the two extremes regardless of the organisation be it the Andrew, plod or commercial business; i.e.risky to have the GL solely selected from the "graduate" classes thus potentially stifling ambition for the troops. Equally it would be a poor organisation which relied solely on old sweats rising through the ranks, a proportion of the elevations being on membership of the right golf club/lodge, and lets face it, the latter still happens too much.....allegedly.

Also regarding your comment that "young Divisional Commanders can inspire confidence" I'm sure some can and, in reality, some do, so I guess that is an agreement. I do have one failing though, ( only one? - as if!) and that is speaking as I find. So yours truly remains to be convinced.

Seeing as I can't find a motoring link to keep on topic better leave it there.
The Government and traffic - Cardew
Thanks for that - I agree with your definition of the optimum approach!
The Government and traffic - Cardew
If the railway management class have the proper training they will be able to ask someone which is the back of the train!

I don't subscribe to the theory that it is necessary to spend many years 'in the ranks' before you can manage in any field; in fact it is often counter-productive to do so.

The Government and traffic - b3gon
Check out page 5 of the Sunday Times driving section:
“Speed cameras are a very important weapon in trying to improve the way that people drive, but they can’t cover everywhere and more importantly they don’t do the things which we used to do as old-time traffic cops: actually arrest people for bad driving,” says Chief Superintendent Mike McAndrew, the former head of traffic for the Metropolitan police and a spokesman for the Superintendents’ Association.

“That’s why careless, dangerous and reckless prosecutions have gone down. Cops don’t have the time to deal with them any more, but that is what causes collisions and so we ought to be tackling it.”,,588-658962,00.html
The Government and traffic - Fullchat
Dishforth!!!!!! You made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up DVD.
The Government and traffic - Daedalus
I think that the increase in road deaths is no more than a statistical blip, its less than 1% for goodness sakes. I could see it go up or down by 5% year on year and think that deaths had stabilised. I personally think that there should be more traffic cars on the road, VISIBLE ones, not like the plain one that stopped me for speeding. Cars or bikes that are patently unfit should be crushed.

Just to go back to statistics for a moment, on the TV and radio I hear "200 killed or seriously injured" now that can mean no one killed and 200 seriously injured or 200 killed. I personally think that 200 seriously injured is less of a problem than 1 killed, but to add them together gives a far more emotive and headlining figure. And its wrong. Your alive or dead. Figures for South Yorks Police were given out on a program recently about motorycle accidents, so many dead etc, the figures were in the hundreds and the implication was that hundreds had died. I dont know how many had died out of those, but if it had of been hundreds the death toll of Britains roads would have been 10s of thousands.

The Government and traffic - vercin

MLC, you are bang on right. Stay safe,

HF, IMHO this Gov. has politicised road safety, after all its approach to transport is Spin, Spin, Spin., and/or taking the money and running.

And i think the forum has picked up on the importance of reform of the underlying legal system re transport (separate traffic courts with police prosecutions, not Blair's CPS).

As for May 1st elections, grill your candidates on this and make your mind up.


The Government and traffic - Obsolete
Me mum used to be a nurse before she retired (ward sister but then she had me) and she says that the problem with the NHS is the abundance of chiefs and absence of indians. It seems that no-one does the work. Bring back matron is her message. The tories say the same thing but I suspect their motives are different. It sounds rather like the message from MLC. Not that I know. I'm just an IT specialist.

Mind you I do think plod on the beat are of value. Where I live the cyclists are complete suicidal maniacs. (I'm not kidding or exagerating.) If only we had some porta-plod to stop 'em and encourage them to do things like cycle on the correct side of the road, to use lights at night, and not cycle across roads in front of oncoming vehicles.
The Government and traffic - Dwight Van Driver

You moonlighting as a feature writer??????

The Government and traffic - Dwight Van Driver
Sorry - better still is

The Government and traffic - midlifecrisis
Do you think they'd give me a job. I could tell my boss to stick his warrant card where the sun don't shine. THAT would be job satisfaction.
The Government and traffic - Robin the Technician
The trouble with all these wonderful 'statistics' is they are not broken down enough to show the real truth. How many of those 3450 deaths were caused by a completely legal driver? How may were caused by drink/ drive/ banned/ uninsured. Thake that scum out of the equation and you will get a more 'realistic' picture. Road deaths will never go away... but we are one of the safest places to drive in Europe and I think the true figures for deaths is'nt really that bad considering how many people are actually on the roads.

These are the views of Robin the Technician with 35 years in the trade. I fix, therefore I am....
The Government and traffic - Altea Ego
Ok While 3,500 deaths is obviously 3,500 too many, as has been pointed out this is a "noise" level amoung the millions of miles driven in the UK. Road deaths however are politcal noise. It gets noticed (unlike 100,000s deaths from cancer).

So we look at this number and we apply some statistical analysis to it. We apply the 80/20 rule to it (fix 80% of the problem thro 20% of the effort) Now let me see, all those people were killed by cars travelling at more than 30 mph. Anything less than that speed you have a good chance of survival. Ergo speed is the killer. How to stop speeding? Why cheap cameras of course, and blimey look - they make money too, and jeez look at this we can cut the number of coppers in expensive cars and put them on the beat stopping muggers beating up old ladies!!! Oh wow
win win situation here guys.. (except beating up old ladies is a perception crime only - there are even less of those than road deaths - but boy do they cause ripples when it happens)

Now getting back to those 100,000 cancer deaths, what can we do to fix those for minimal effort..Nothing? it takes a lot of money? ok ignore it, its an act of god anway........
The Government and traffic - eMBe {P}
>>> It was recently raised in the House of Commons that over the last three years, road deaths had risen from 3421 to 3450. At the same time, Traffic Officers have fallen by 8%, with the Met losing a quarter. <<<

So road deaths are a function of Traffic Officers (TO). If we had a law that each driver was accompanied by one TO, would the death toll then be zero?

Or is the above statistic more to do with the fact that over the three years in question, the number cars and of miles travelled has gone up?

TIC post, lateral thinking: On the question of spending money to reduce deaths due to cars, or due to cancer: Most cancer deaths are attributable to smoking. Ban smoking and the sale of cigarettes and the deaths will reduce dramatically in future years (allowing for cause-effect time-lag). Ban driving and use of cars, and deaths will reduce almost instantly. In both cases, the impact on the economy, tax, and all that follows would be enormous. But some people would not die prematurely as a result of cars/cigarettes. They may however die earlier as a consequence of return to Victorian or earlier standards of living.
The Government and traffic - Andrew-T
MB - if cars disappeared overnight, I don't think we would return to Victorian standards of living, as rather more has been added since then than the proliferation of cars. A lot more use might be made of public transport though, which certain people have been recommending for some time.

However as you say, the economy would be very different. Now and then I try to guess what proportion of the workforce depends on motor vehicles, allowing for (to name a few) sellers, advertisers, maintainers, insurers, road builders, parts specialists, websites .. ..
The Government and traffic - eMBe {P}
Andrew-T : as with many of my TIC(TIC=tongue-in-cheek, for those who dont know) posts, I exagerate to make a point. However, without road going cars/vans/lorries, the world economy would certainly collapse, and approach Victorian standards of living for many people.

Value my car