HMICFRS: Roads Policing: Not optional an inspection of roads policing in England and Wales (thematic inspection)
Response from: Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Hampshire
While Hampshire Constabulary was not a part of this thematic inspection, we value the findings and outcomes, and any learning points on which we can implement. We recognise the key role our police officers play when it comes to our roads and the strategic road networks that keep us moving throughout the year, in all weather conditions, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here in Hampshire our road networks vary across key motorway routes, busy cities and ferry ports to rural and coastal roads. It is not only motorised vehicles which utilise these routes, but our vulnerable road users too such as pedestrians and cyclists.
As with many forces, roads policing officer numbers are often stretched beyond capacity, but a recent uplift in this area just further highlights the need for sustained resource. Road safety has always been a priority area here in Hampshire, from Older Drivers Forums to the fatal five campaigns, along with a dedicated Police Sergeant and a small team to deliver on road safety across the county.
Any death or injury as a result of the roads can leave devastating and life changing affects. It is not only the public that can be harmed, but those officers attending and dealing with incidents at the roadside. Often there is a need for multi-agency working and an inter-partner agency response to incidents on the road, utilising the services of SCAS, Fire and Rescue, NPAS and others.
We know only too well the dangers that come with our roads, yet they also provide independence and keep the economy moving. Road traffic officers not only deal with road traffic incidents but our road networks are often utilised by organised criminal groups, and often what can be perceived to be a straight forward traffic stop and often result in the identification of serious criminal activity.
- With immediate effect, chief constables should make sure that roads policing is included in their force’s strategic threat and risk assessments, which should identify the areas of highest harm and risk and the appropriate responses.
OPCC Comment: We will explore with the force the scope of roads policing and the extent to which it features in the strategic threat and risk assessment.
- With immediate effect, chief constables should make sure:
- their force has enough analytical capability (including that provided by road safety partnerships) to identify risks and threats on the road network within their force area
- that information shared by partners relating to road safety is used effectively to reduce those risks and threats there is evaluation of road safety initiatives to establish their effectiveness.
OPCC Comment: With a dedicated road safety team here in Hampshire, working alongside our roads policing officers, and our joint collaboration unit (JOU) with Thames Valley police, the OPCC will continue to monitor the forces capabilities around road safety analytics.
- With immediate effect, chief constables should make sure that their force (or where applicable road safety partnerships of which their force is a member), comply with (the current version of) Department for Transport Circular 1/2007 in relation to the use of speed and red-light cameras.
OPCC Comment: The OPCC will contact the road safety lead to determine the level of compliance and work with the force to make the necessary changes where needed.
- With immediate effect, chief constables should satisfy themselves that the resources allocated to policing the strategic road network within their force areas are sufficient. As part of that process they should make sure that their force has effective partnership arrangements including appropriate intelligence sharing agreements with relevant highways agencies.
OPCC Comment: We will continue to work with the force in understanding the resource requirements and any shortfalls that need to be addressed.
- With immediate effect, chief constables should make sure that appropriate welfare support is provided to specialist investigators and family liaison officers involved in the investigation of fatal road traffic collisions.
OPCC Comment: Here in Hampshire the force has invested heavily into the wellbeing of officers, and this includes those in specialist roles with enhanced support such as psychological screening, occupational health support and access to a 24hr employee support helpline. In addition the force has around 100 Wellbeing Champions supporting peers around mental health, TRiM and a range of complex issues.