Police to adopt ‘clear guidelines’ to stop drivers ‘getting away with flouting the law’

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Police enforcement of road offences “varies” between forces leaving dangerous road users to get away without being penalised. Safety experts have called for “stiffer penalties” alongside tougher enforcement practices to ensure offenders are caught.

Neil Greig, spokesperson for IAM RoadSmart has called for “clear” rules on what cameras can be used for and how images can be used.

He said: “Clearer guidelines must be created so that police forces can be confident that they can enforce laws with the equipment available to them today – laws which were specifically designed to reduce the number of road casualties.

“Our research showed that the use of mobile safety cameras to pursue phone users and seatbelt offenders varies from one force to another.

“What we need are clear and consistent guidelines on what the cameras can be used for, what training staff need and how the images can be used as evidence.

“Stiffer penalties are only part of the enforcement jigsaw and fear of being caught must be increased so that resources are not wasted, or drivers think they can get away with flouting the law.”

The comments come after an invitation from the Department for Transport found that enforcement tactics needed to be improved.

The DfT’s report said it was “essential” that law enforcement teams were suitably equipped” to meet demand.

The report said officers needed to be trained in “specific ways of working” and given “additional equipment” to do their job safely.

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They claimed that other technologies could be used which would help to support enforcement and bring offenders to justice.

Meanwhile, the report claimed that advances in onboard car systems and mobile phone tools generated “increasing sources” of distraction for road users.

The study revealed that there is “no statutory duty” on the police to reduce the number of road traffic collisions.

They only need to conduct their “general duty” to prevent crime in an area and do not need to go above and beyond to reduce casualty numbers.

However, many police forces still try and participate in local and national initiatives to help boost safety on their roads.

A previous investigation from IAM RoadSmart said that almost two-thirds of police forces were not using mobile safety cameras to prosecute motorists.

A Freedom of Information Act request revealed that just 16 of the 44 police forces used images from cameras to pursue offences regularly.

Another four only checked the cameras occasionally meaning thousands of offenders would have escaped punishment.

IAM Road Smart has also warned that not all forces have integrated dashcam footage into the prosecution system in another major miss.

Research from the safety group has also revealed that 70 percent of drivers believe mobile phone use while driving has got worse over the past three years.

Meanwhile, 90 percent see mobile phone use while driving as the greatest threat to their personal safety on the road.

The DfT will deliver its final findings and recommendations from its investigation into roads policing by the Spring of 2021.

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