Cycling UK have written to me, read the letter here
Here is my reply:
Thank you for your email, I am the current Dorset PCC standing for re-election. I will deal with your comments first, then finish by answering your question.
I agree with you on your comments on cycling. I am pro cycling, I used to cycle 100 miles a week.
If austerity has taught us one thing, it is that we never know what is around the corner. As an Independent PCC, with no party whip, I have learnt not to break a promise, and I haven’t broken a promise in my last term.
If I pledged to increase Road Policing Officers in the way your question implies,
(ie fixed and unmovable increases) what happens if policing loses another 20% of it’s budget? And it could. Whilst I am pro Brexit, it is a bit of an unknown, no-one knows what is around the corner, we could have Brexit and unexpected financial crisis, or we could vote to stay in, and see the Government implode with a leadership battle, and crisis resulting from that.
Equally, four years is a long time in policing. Four years ago, cyber crime and CSE were just appearing, now they dominate the policing agenda. It would be difficult to predict four years in policing, which is what your email sets out to do. Policing currently responds to issues of “threat risk and harm” and it is important it is allowed to be flexible to do that.
Accepting four years is a long time, I cannot pledge to cycling/roads policing (or anything else for that matter) that I will fix an increase in spending or resourcing each year.
However, this is a good time to say I am proud that 18 months ago, the Chief Constable and I increased the traffic team in Dorset by seven officers.
One thing we both agree on is that our roads are not safe, and are not perceived as safe. Road deaths and casualties are increasing for the first time in 16 years, and we have to do something differently. That’s why I have pledged new road safety initiatives in my manifesto
I am convinced that education AND enforcement is what is needed, in Dorset at the moment, we only educate offenders who get caught, and I think we need to educate the driving population as well.
So, dealing with your question:
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?
No, I can’t pledge this, for the reasons given above. What I can pledge is:
- To raise the issue of road safety as a policing priority and insert it in the Police and Crime Plan
- To continue my trend of increasing traffic officers/staff when and where appropriate
- To introduce new policies of training and educating those members of the public who DON’T break the law, to improve driving behaviour, and clearly this area can include cycling awareness.
- To introduce a state of the art portal website that will be a font of all things road safety, this website will help deal with cycling issues.
Thanks for the email, and the debate!