Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 520-525)



  520. This is one of the controversial issues because in one area of policing compared to another area of policing, as has been pointed out earlier, we have different enforcement and this does generate a problem with motorists in that it depends on your postcode. One area could be more lenient than other areas. Is that not taking the sensitivity too far?
  (Mr Ainsworth) I think there was an acceptance by ACPO that in the past there had not been consistency with regard to policing in this area and that they had done a lot, or tried to do a lot since the late 1990s to improve that situation and they believe that they have achieved a lot in so doing. There will always be issues and there will always be pressures which will impact on particular police force areas, particular command units, which will mean that from day to day they will have to shift resources and they will have to shift their priorities. Now, those are decisions to be taken within the flexibility that we give the police force to respond to the issues that face them ongoing.

  521. On that point, and my final question to you, Minister, is that ACPO or their representative, the Chief Constable of North Wales, made it clear to this Committee that the problem they have with this uniformity is because of the fact that the Home Office do not include anything about speeding in the policing plan, and you are saying that ACPO have made a representation on this, they have published a website, they are pointing fingers at the Home Office saying, "We need a further lead from the Home Office on this very issue", and because of the fact that it was not included in the policing plan, the core issues, they are saying that the Home Office is not being progressive on this issue of speed limits.
  (Mr Ainsworth) I heard what they said and I can only repeat what I said to you which is that I am surprised by it. It is one of their overarching objectives. When we look to—


  522. You have been very kind, Minister, and made that very clear. We do not want to get into too many arches again!

Helen Jackson

  523. Really following on from that, do you know what saving there would be in police call-out costs of the 40 per cent reduction in casualties?
  (Mr Biddulph) We have some evidence, but I do not have it with me.

  Helen Jackson: Could you let us have it please because clearly it is a huge impact on your budget and police staff time if there were that 40 per cent reduction.

Mr Donohoe

  524. Why do you not introduce a national traffic police force?
  (Mr Ainsworth) I do not think that is an issue which as been looked at lately at all. I am not at all sure whether or not it would be practical to do that. I am not at all sure whether you would get the effective interface between the local police force areas as to what roads would be policed by the national road police force and what roads would be policed by the local police force area. You could well find that there are some splits and divisions and it could be quite damaging.


  525. Finally, Minister, can I ask you why there is a different approach to processing the information from CCTV cameras and from road safety cameras?
  (Mr Ainsworth) I do not understand what that different approach is, Madam Chairman.

  Chairman: Well, we have been given evidence from Nottingham that they want to employ new digital cameras and they want that information processed in the police stations and we have been told that you cannot accept that. Do you want to go away and give us a note on that as well? Thank you very much indeed, Minister. You have been very interesting.

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