The Home Office
164. The strongest criticism was reserved for the Home Office.
Nottingham City Council had concerns about its role.
The Association of Chief Police Officers was critical of the "mixed
messages emanating from Government, particularly the position
of the Home Office".
165. The specific criticisms made by witnesses were that the Home
- played a key role in imposing the new rules about safety cameras;
- failed to implement the proposals in the 2000 Consultation Paper
on Road Traffic Penalties;
- pressed for an 80 mph speed limit on motorways; and
- failed to make traffic policing a priority, and was reducing
its relative importance.
166. Witnesses were concerned that the present Home Secretary,
in line with many of his predecessors, did not consider road policing
to be very important.
In addition, new proposals from the Home Office have caused some
concern. A National Policing Plan has been proposed by the Home
Office in the White Paper on Police Reform, Policing a New
century: A Blueprint for Reform. ACPO is disappointed that
it makes no mention of road policing. and has recommended that
the Plan include a clear statement of the importance placed by
the Government on road policing and casualty reduction.
167. The Home Office is also to reducing the number of police's
performance indicators, and has considered the abolition of the
only best value indicator which relates to road policing, No.132
- the number of road collisions involving death or injury per
1,000 of the population.
168. In response to these criticisms Bob Ainsworth MP, the Parliamentary
Under Secretary at the Home Office the Minister told us that road
policing was one of the overarching objectives of the police force,
He was surprised at Commander Brunstrom's comments, and believed
that there were no grounds for thinking that the Home Office was
not interested in this area of policing.
He thought that the fact that road policing was not mentioned
in the National Policing Plan was not relevant because the Plan
was about police reform.
169. We recommend that the Home Office emphasise that road
traffic policing is a priority and that the National Policing
Plan contain a commitment to that effect. The best value indicator
relating to traffic policing should be retained.