Road Safety Week Blog
The importance of police enforcement
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, explains the importance of enforcing the laws of the road in making our streets safe for all road users.
Enforcing the laws of our roads is a crucial part of any roads safety strategy. In 2018 I published the NPCC Roads Policing strategy – ‘Policing our roads together’, a 3 year plan adopting a ‘Safe System’ approach to roads policing across 5 key pillars:
- Safe Roads
- Safe Vehicles
- Safe Speeds
- Safe Road Users
- Post-Crash Response
The principal objectives of the strategy are to work together to achieve:
- Safe roads, free from harm
- Secure roads free from the threat of serious crime and terrorism
- Efficient roads that promote public confidence and satisfaction
In terms of ‘safe roads free from harm’ I believe that by focussing our efforts on the driving practices that lead to the most harm on our roads, we are protecting the public; this is why we so often refer to the ‘fatal 4’. Driving under the influence of drink or drugs, distracted driving, failing to wear a seat belt and speeding are all choices made by the driver or passenger that inevitably places themselves and others at unnecessary risk on our roads.
An overall roads safety strategy without enforcement would be an ineffective one and would lead to more and more drivers taking more and more risk. It’s therefore right that the police do not apologise for using their powers to enforce the law in these areas and in doing so prosecute drivers who choose to ignore it.
Like so many of us who work in this area, I am all too often reminded of the catastrophic consequences that flow when someone is killed on our roads. The violent and immediate loss of a loved one, the disruption to family life and the knowledge that sadly, many many deaths on our roads are preventable and unnecessary, brings home the true reality of road death on a daily basis.
As the NPCC lead for Roads Policing I have set a clear expectation that all police forces participate in co-ordinated national campaigns for the fatal 4 offences. While there is an important role for education in roads safety, it is the police who have powers to enforce and where appropriate prosecute motorists for these offences and as such I believe our contribution is a unique and valuable one, as we all strive to reduce the five deaths occurring on UK roads every single day.