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Lincolnshire look to set up dedicated roads policing unit

Lincolnshire Police have launched their Roads Policing plan for 2020-2022 which will reinvest in traffic officers after austerity made them an 'endangered species'

The force are planning to use the uplift to build a more visible presence on Lincolnshire's roads. 

The Roads Policing plan aims to “achieve a sustainable reduction” in the number of people killed or seriously injured.

Superintendent Paul Timmins, Head of Specialist Operations, said: “We are investing in roads policing officers as part of the uplift of additional officers in our county. Our officers, special constables and volunteers will all be working hard to educate or enforce road traffic legislation.

“All of these interactions around education I think are really vital to help us reduce our killed and seriously injured on the road and make Lincolnshire a safer place.”

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport recently published a report saying that government needed to make roads policing a priority in order to cut fatalities, which have plateaued since 2010.

In 2019, dedicated roads officers made up just 4 per cent of officers across all forces.

Supt. Timmins said at this moment in time there is no dedicated purely roads policing function within the force, and due to the competing demands created by austerity, roads policing was not an area that was invested in.

“We didn't have that focus of really interacting with the public in a meaningful way,” he says.

“My vision through this plan and through the uplift that we are hopefully still getting from the government over the next two to three years is to build that capacity in Lincolnshire so that we do have a dedicated roads policing team.”

He said this would allow the force to look not just at the numbers of casualties but to focus on some of the criminality on the roads as well.

“Our officers are on patrol engaging and enforcing with a fresh and renewed focus on road safety and policing our roads to deny criminal activity.”

The force had worked closely with their Independent Advisory Board and other community groups and the feedback was they were fully supportive of the force’s road operations but they were not “particularly visible”.

“That visible assurance goes an awful long way. We’ve worked really hard to make ourselves more visible with the resources we've got,” Supt. Timmins said.

He said for instance when one of their motorcyclists is out doing speed checks they'll be updating social media and other platforms about what they're doing so “people can see we're out there and doing stuff”.

“We've had some really positive feedback from that.”

The force are making use of available technology. They are expanding their use of ANPR and plan to have Operation Snap in place by the Autumn which allows dash cam footage from members of the public to be uploaded directly to the police.

“Making use of everybody on the roads being able to provide information to us is going to be vital as well.”

Supt. Timmins said that making use of new technology and keeping an eye on what’s new and up and coming so that “we can put some investment into the tools of the trade as well as the people so we can really make a difference”.

Supt. Timmins said the force was going to utilise community intel combined with technology to be “a menace to criminals on the roads and ensure where people feel that they can use the roads to further their criminal activity we're going to make it as hostile as possible for them”.

Supt. Timmins said he was broadly supportive of the Federation’s push to give officers new powers to require someone they’ve stopped on the road to exit their vehicle but that it needed to be carefully thought through.

“If we can do something that will protect our officers from that then it's got to be a good thing,” he said.

But he went on to say: “We police by consent here and largely that's adhered to. Making someone exit the vehicle - how far do we go with that? Across the pond and elsewhere where policing is policed by force. I don't think we ever want to get into that position where we are policing by force all the time rather than by consent.”

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