CTC report highlights uneven traffic policing as cutbacks turn penalty points into postcode lottery

Cutbacks turn some areas into bad-driving free-for-all

by John Stevenson   September 23, 2013  

Police cutbacks have seen forces resort to having James May source their cars (CC licenced image by exfordy:Flickr)

A study by cycling charity CTC using figures obtained from government data indicates that changes in road policing as a result of cutbacks are unevenly affecting the enforcement of road rules, turning the likelihood of drivers being penalised for traffic offences into a postcode lottery.

Glasgow drivers have the most penalty points, while Shetland has the least, according to the CTC which has created a google map to handily display the proportion of drivers with points in an area.

A whopping 14.5 percent of Glasgow drivers have points, but the figure is just 4 percent in Lerwick, Shetland.

CTC believes that the discrepancy between areas is mainly due to differing levels of traffic policing in different areas. 48% of vehicles disobey the speed limit in free flow conditions, yet only a small fraction of drivers have points on their licence, so it is less likely due to the level of bad driving in any particular area.

CTC’s policy co-ordinator Chris Peck said, “It can’t be just down to driver behaviour that 1 in 8 drivers in Glasgow have penalty points, but just 1 in 20 have points in Shetland. The loss of road traffic policing hasn’t been even. Overall there are a third fewer road traffic police today than ten years ago – but the reduction has been greater in some police forces than in others.

“Fewer traffic police means day-to-day bad driving goes undetected and dangerous vehicles continue to be used on the roads. In our Road Justice: the role of the police report, CTC has drawn attention to 10 ways in which roads policing needs to be better resourced and police investigation and practices improved.”

“Over 8,000 people have signed our roadjustice.org.uk petition calling for stronger enforcement of road traffic law and we’d urge anyone concerned about the lack of enforcement of traffic law in their area to do likewise.”

The Road Justice petition calls on police forces to devote more resources to road traffic policing, and improve the standard of investigation of serious road collisions.

CTC has also produced a map showing the proportion of drivers who hold penalty points down to local postcode level.

Castlemilk, a suburb of Glasgow, has the highest proportion of drivers who hold penalty points: 19.4%, whereas the village of Freshwater, on the Isle of Wight, has the lowest, at just 3.3% of drivers.

You can download the data for yourself  too.

15 user comments

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I wonder if anyone has the police force maps to overlay on this?

Thinking if you could show the number of traffic police by area by the points numbers?

I believe that Devon and cornwall scrapped there traffic police, and look no one has any points!

edit

something like this for a starter

http://www.hmic.gov.uk/media/police-force-map.pdf

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [848 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 13:12

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Quote:
“It can’t be just down to driver behaviour that 1 in 8 drivers in Glasgow have penalty points, but just 1 in 20 have points in Shetland.

Id hazzard a guess, but i doubt life is quite as hectic and rushed in shetland. The map does show some obvious patterns tho, in my area there is a higher percentage of drivers with points around key routes. You will have more people living in those corridors how commute, as the location gives better access to large roads. However i can see his point in more urban areas.

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posted by STATO [399 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 13:24

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Quote:
the likelihood of divers being penalised for traffic offences

I'd have thought that would be quite high. I mean, just try working the brake in those flippers.

Noli porcum linguere

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posted by captain_slog [252 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 13:25

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-24202993

being as this is my local police force i am wondering if the 60%+ increase is related to officer numbers?

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posted by mrmo [848 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 13:58

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captain_slog wrote:
Quote:
the likelihood of divers being penalised for traffic offences

I'd have thought that would be quite high. I mean, just try working the brake in those flippers.

Smile Well played! Typo fixed.

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posted by John Stevenson [809 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 14:22

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Drilling in, the Newmilns / Galston road South of Glasgow (A71) has a bunch of idiotic 40mph zones and a string of towns, and a couple of cameras backed nicely into trees... Also have a high proportion of people with points... You'd think the locals would get a handle on where they are...

Not so much a six pack as a barrel!

posted by Bigfoz [56 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 15:36

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Bigfoz wrote:
You'd think the locals would get a handle on where they are...

War on motorist, victimisation, stupid speed limits, blinded by the low sun, couldn't see the sign due to fog, distracted by the cyclist jumping a red light....

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posted by mrmo [848 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 15:56

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It's hard to put this info into context without knowing the level of traffic policing per area and a before / after comparison to see whether the points accrued has risen or fallen as a result.

looking at my local patch, I'd read that Northumbria Police were one of the areas that chose to maintain road policing budgets but the points spread looks pretty average to me.

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posted by joemmo [680 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 17:22

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Pretty clear that map makes the Peak district the best place to go for a ride, safe(r), beautiful, centrally positioned, nicely rippled. We are definitely keeping it for the North.

David Bowie agrees with me

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posted by bikeboy76 [1041 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 19:59

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joemmo wrote:

looking at my local patch, I'd read that Northumbria Police were one of the areas that chose to maintain road policing budgets but the points spread looks pretty average to me.

I don't know that there's a contradiction there. If enforcement is visibly happening, people will moderate their behaviour accordingly. So you will have a higher proportion of offenders being caught, but a lower total number of offences being committed, and the numbers will come out fairly average. Doesn't mean the police aren't making a difference.

posted by bambergbike [72 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 20:06

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bikeboy76 wrote:
Pretty clear that map makes the Peak district the best place to go for a ride, safe(r), beautiful, centrally positioned, nicely rippled. We are definitely keeping it for the North.

No, what it says is the Police don't care about traffic offences...

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posted by mrmo [848 posts]
24th September 2013 - 8:30

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"I wonder if anyone has the police force maps to overlay on this?"

I did it very quickly and crudely yesterday:

https://twitter.com/beztweets/status/382409297939820544

Notice that Devon and Cornwall is very clearly defined, with both Avon and Somerset and Dorset providing a clear contrast. Kent's boundary is also quite clear.

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posted by Bez [334 posts]
24th September 2013 - 8:41

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Thanks Bez, i wonder if Dorset Police are doing a "good" job or are the drivers really that bad.

If we go by surveys that suggest c50% of drivers ignore 30mph limits then at least 50% of drivers should have points?

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posted by mrmo [848 posts]
24th September 2013 - 20:57

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I don't know if this will be controversial. My feeling is that there is a perception that bad driving = speeding, and that's it. Yes, that is a form of bad driving. But on Sunday our ride was most endangered by someone driving past us (8 of us) without pulling out - because another car was coming in the other direction. I would be 100% certain she was within the speed limit. It seems that a proportion of the driving population think that driving within the speed limit automatically = safe driving. I don't want to be hit by a car travelling over the speed limit. But its better a car checking the road situation, waiting for a clear space to overtake, giving plenty of room and then going past smartly (i.e. possibly over the speed limit) than some twat slowly but gradually driving into you. I get more exercised about the rubbish driving I see which is caused by total inattention or incomprehension of the road situation than I do about speed on its own. Speed makes accidents worse. But being a twat generally causes the accident.

posted by edster99 [115 posts]
24th September 2013 - 22:52

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edster99 wrote:
I don't know if this will be controversial. My feeling is that there is a perception that bad driving = speeding, and that's it. Yes, that is a form of bad driving. But on Sunday our ride was most endangered by someone driving past us (8 of us) without pulling out - because another car was coming in the other direction. I would be 100% certain she was within the speed limit. It seems that a proportion of the driving population think that driving within the speed limit automatically = safe driving. I don't want to be hit by a car travelling over the speed limit. But its better a car checking the road situation, waiting for a clear space to overtake, giving plenty of room and then going past smartly (i.e. possibly over the speed limit) than some twat slowly but gradually driving into you. I get more exercised about the rubbish driving I see which is caused by total inattention or incomprehension of the road situation than I do about speed on its own. Speed makes accidents worse. But being a twat generally causes the accident.

+1

Going fast, in itself, doesn't hurt anyone. Its when things/people make contact that dammage is done. Speed obviously is a factor but there does seem to be a big focus on catching drivers who are exceeding the speed limit even marginally and less focus on the acts of idiocy that we all see so often.

I was actually thinking the other day about how ineffective speed cameras are, particually when HGVs are concerned. On a single carridgeway national speed limit road cameras will be triggered at 60mph. This means that HGVs can travel at 50% faster than the law allows without worrying about getting snapped. It like car drivers doing 90mph, which of course many do.

posted by Matt eaton [220 posts]
25th September 2013 - 9:08

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