Road Crime is Real Crime - in Wales
Yes or No on funding and numbers?
With elections taking place for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in 40 police force areas throughout England and Wales this Thursday, Cycling UK has been busy asking all of the candidates one question:
"If elected as PCC, will you commit to increase the amount allocated to roads policing within the force budget by at least 2% above inflation each year for the next four years, and by more if that is what is required to ensure that traffic police officer numbers within the force account for 5% of total officer numbers within four years?"
Ask a simple question!
The plan to ask a question requiring a yes or no answer unfortunately back fired slightly, with numerous equivocal responses without any express funding commitment, but with some positive commitment, assurance or promise regarding traffic police numbers, cycle safety or traffic enforcement issues. You can view the abbreviated comments of your candidates, and decide for yourself whether they plan to treat road crime as real crime via our Vote Bike mapping tool and comments page.
So far, 94 candidates have replied. A second round of emails from Cycling UK were sent over the weekend to those candidates who had not yet replied, and you can use our Vote Bike page to send an automatic email to your candidates if they have not yet responded, to ask them why not
A priority or a Cinderella service
Opinions vary about whether elected PCCs are the best model for holding the police to account locally. It is, however, the system we have, and as Cycling UK has previously outlined, the PCCs can determine police force priorities, set the force budget, and decide whether roads policing is a Cinderella service.
That's why Cycling UK believe that asking PCC candidates to give a commitment to properly fund and support roads policing is a Road Justice issue, a key part of our Vote Bike campaign, and why we need your support.
With police forces across England and Wales all facing different challenges it was perhaps predictable that the level of response from candidates would vary geographically. With no response from any candidates in Lincolnshire, it is presumably for local voters to decide whether the overall decline in roads policing is not an issue or problem there, or whether Lincolnshire candidates are failing to give this issue sufficient consideration?
If the latter, they can of course use our Vote Bike page to contact the candidates and ask them to do so.
Welsh candidates commit to roads policing
If you live in Wales you may be delighted to hear that your candidates appear to accept that the reduction in roads policing is a key road safety issue, and a priority. There are four police force areas in Wales, with a Plaid Cymru candidate in each one. All four have committed to increase roads police funding and police numbers as requested by Cycling UK, making Plaid Cymru the only party with 100% candidate commitment to our campaign.
It is however not just Plaid Cymru who are committing to fund roads policing in Wales. With 'yes' responses from the Liberal Democrat candidates in South Wales and Dyfed-Powys, and the Conservative candidate in North Wales, there are seven candidates signing up to our campaign ask in Wales, with other candidates giving different commitments which voters can assess for themselves.
More needed from the English candidates
Seven unequivocal yes responses in Wales, and only seven in 36 areas in England, with a cross party mix of three Green, three Labour and one UKIP candidate. Not a single Independent candidate has given an unequivocal yes!
Amongst the most interesting of the responses form candidates, in terms of influencing the national approach to the funding of roads policing and traffic officer numbers, was the response of the Green Party candidate for Merseyside John Coyne. When giving the commitment asked for he added that he would "press the Government to use Merseyside as a pilot area to see if the effects of increased enforcement can be measured in terms of casualty reduction and an increase in participation in cycling".
Regardless of whether John Coyne is successful in this election, or whether Merseyside is the pilot area, the suggestion that the effects of increased enforcement can be measured as he suggests is one Cycling UK would fully support.
Last chance to tell your candidates to Vote Bike
Many of the candidates have expressed their wish to meet either with Cycling UK or with local campaigners following the election, if successful. Our Vote Bike Results page contains the candidates' abbreviated comments, but after Thursday, when the results of the elections are confirmed, Cycling UK will be contacting the newly elected PCCs and highlighting all of the promises and assurances they made on this and related cycling issues.
If you want your candidates to spell out what if any commitment they will make, please use our Vote Bike tool to contact them. We know this has worked, as one candidate contacted Cycling UK after receiving 68 emails from Cycling UK members within 48 hours of his response being published on our results page.
We also know that email pressure from voters works. In the current London Mayoral elections all the main candidates have now agreed to the London Cycling Campaign's asks in their sign for cycling campaign. During that campaign, the Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith complained about being positively hounded by cycling campaigners. He then signed for cycling. Last Friday at the London Mayoral hustings, Zac told the audience that he knew that if elected he would have to keep his promises on cycling, if only to avoid the emails from cyclists and campaigners.
The PCC candidates want your vote. Please let them know they need to Vote Bike to get it.