London maintains a squad of traffic police who use bikes
London maintains a squad of traffic police who use bikes

Which police force has seen the biggest drop in traffic policing?

Despite overall policing levels remaining constant, traffic police numbers fell by 29% over the last ten years. Using the Freedom of Information Act, CTC can reveal the force by force data, showing which policing area has seen the biggest decrease in traffic policing.

Last month CTC revealed data on traffic police levels in England and Wales requested on our behalf by Dr Julian Huppert MP, the joint chair of the All Party Cycling Group.

Now those national figures can be supplemented by local data, showing where the decline in road traffic policing has been greatest. 

Biggest reductions in traffic police over the last ten years

1. Devon and Cornwall Police - in 2011 this force cut all road traffic policing, dispersing traffic policing to neighbourhood units. Fines to motorists have halved and the force is under pressure after a sharp increase in road deaths in 2012.

2. Warwickshire Police - since 2002 down 76% from over 100 to just 25 officers.

3. West Mercia Police - down 72% from 292 to just 83 officers.

Another 14 forces have seen decreases above the average, including South Wales, Cheshire, the Met, Dyfed-Powys. 19 forces have seen decreases below the average, while 7 forces have actually increased the number of traffic police.

Biggest increases in traffic police over last ten years

1. Cleveland Police - this small force has seen a 59% increase, up to 103 officers.

2. Nottinghamshire Police - although numbers are still very small, at just 38 officers, this is over a third more than in 2002, although traffic policing was much stronger 5-6 years ago.

3. Merseyside Police - increased traffic policing by 29% to 161 officers.

For full data see below.

Data for Scotland, obtained by CTC, show that there were 707 roads police in Scotland, just 4.1% of the total.

CTC believes that increasing traffic policing levels is crucial to improving enforcement of road traffic law. 

Chris Peck