Drivers face prosecution postcode lottery


Drivers face prosecution postcode lottery

Cuts to traffic police in some areas has led to a postcode lottery for motoring offence prosecutions, road safety campaigners have warned.

Drivers in congested cities are most likely to have penalty points, with Glasgow having the highest proportion at 14.5 per cent. In contrast, only four per cent of drivers in Lerwick, Shetland, have any endorsements.

Urban areas also play host to the most repeat offenders. One in 20 drivers (4.35 per cent) in East London has nine or more penalty points, with Bradford following close behind at 3.9 per cent. This fell below two per cent in less trafficked areas such as Exeter, Truro and the Outer Hebrides.

Cycling organisation CTC, which compiled the data, blames the disparity on the decline in road policing in recent years. The last decade has seen traffic police reduced by some 30 per cent.

It claims that the areas with the highest penalty points tallies are the areas in which road law is being properly enforced. To illustrate this, it pointed towards Devon and Cornwall, which has no traffic officers whatsoever, and there are a relatively low number of drivers with points.

However, just across the county border in Dorset, where there are 52 dedicated traffic officers, the rate of convictions is much higher.

The organisation is now urging police forces to make road policing a priority.

Speaking to The Times, CTC policy coordinator Chris Peck, said: "We are seeing a huge variation in the level of roads policing across the country, but worryingly, overall it represents a catastrophic decline."

Road safety charity Brake echoed the concerns. A spokesperson said: "We would absolutely like to see an increase in specialist roads police numbers. Lots of drivers are partaking in risky behaviour and there is clear evidence which shows that risky driving on the roads leads to deaths and injury."

However, the AA has warned against reading too much into regional disparity in driving convictions pointing towards a decline in roads policing, highlighting the fact that drivers in Scotland are not offered speed awareness courses and that many drivers in London are similarly denied, having been pulled over in the street, rather than being caught by a speed camera.