Reckless drivers 'getting away' with breaking the law according to former traffic cop
9:00am Sunday 25th August 2013 in News
RECKLESS drivers know they will get away with speeding and dangerous driving due to police cutbacks, a retired traffic officer has claimed.
Brian Lee, who worked for GMP’s Bolton traffic and motorway units, for more than 20 years, believes the amount of crashes would decrease if more traffic officers were policing the borough’s roads. He says cameras are being used to replace officers.
Mr Lee, aged 73, from Bolton, said: “Two major accidents which have occurred in Bolton in Daubhill and in Tonge Moor recently might not have happened had we had the old traffic cover that we used to have.
“There will of course always be accidents, but the presence of a traffic car always makes drivers concentrate on their driving.
“We have the cameras of course but cameras are not capable of detecting disqualified drivers, dangerous drivers, unlicensed or uninsured drivers and drivers over the alcohol or drug limits.
“Cameras can't stop and advise or arrest offending drivers. They also can't detect drivers using mobile phones or not wearing seatbelts.”
Mr Lee said the problem is not the police —as they do not have the money — but said the issues were “frustrating as it means the job isn’t being done properly”.
Thirty traffic officer posts were axed earlier this year to find GMP savings of £134 million by 2014.
And 90 traffic officers have recently relocated to Eccles after previously being based in Leigh. The officers cover Bolton, Bury, Wigan, Salford and Trafford.
Force bosses have previously denied claims that the safety of motorists was in jeopardy due to the budget cuts.
Mr Lee said four traffic cars used to be deployed to Bolton per shift. Cover would involve officers on the patch until 1am during the week and a 3am at weekends. There would then be one on patrol between 3am and 7am.
He said: “These highly trained officers were in high visibility cars and would be available to deal with traffic accidents and any incidents their equipment and training could be used to assist section patrols.
“Now, the Bolton traffic unit does not exist and traffic cover comes from Eccles. It appears that now, the same number of patrols turn out from Eccles to cover a half of the GMP area, as we used to have to cover Bolton.”
Mr Lee believes the reduction has resulted in a deterioration of driving standards as some motorists believe they will be able to avoid any punishment.
Figures released by the Department for Transport earlier this month show the number of people killed in drink driving collisions nationally rose last year by 25 per cent to 290.
Mr Lee said: “Drivers who have had a couple of drinks are now not too bothered about being stopped because the chances of this are practically nil.”
Ch Insp Rachel Buckle, from the Roads Policing and Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “We have more than 250 specialist traffic officers working across the force to tackle poor standards of driving. GMP's response and neighbourhood officers also play their part in policing the roads.
“We undertook Operation Grimaldi in Bolton recently to encourage cyclists and other road users to share the roads safely and are currently working with GMFRS to educate younger drivers regarding their responsibilities on the roads.
“Road safety is everyone's responsibility and we continue to encourage all users to share the road safely.”
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