22nd Feb, 2018

Police chief’s speed comments stir debate

Rob George 7th Feb, 2018

MOTORISTS in Worcester could be fined for going just one mile per hour above the speed limit under calls from West Mercia’s top police officer.

Chief Constable Anthony Bangham wants zero tolerance on drivers breaking the speed limit – currently guidance gives officers a leeway of 10 per cent plus 2mph on speeding.

Mr Bangham, named ‘the fatal four causes’ of most of the road traffic accidents in the area as drink and drug driving, speeding, mobile phone use and seatbelts.

He said: “The number of people who are killed and seriously injured on our roads across West Mercia is increasing and the fatal four causes feature highly as reasons behind these.

“The police have a significant role to play in enforcing the law and we are the single agency who have the ability to do so. Speaking at a national conference yesterday as the national lead for roads policing I and colleagues debated how we could further protect people on our roads.

“No decisions were taken but we did consider options for how to reduce speeding. I am clear that in my force of West Mercia Police I want to do everything possible to make our roads safer.

His comments sparked a furore in the national media with celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman, also known as Mr Loophole, calling for Mr Bangham to resign over his comments.

But the Chief Constable, who is also lead for the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) on road policing, added: “We know that enforcement can change people’s behaviours and I want to ensure the public, who use the road network in West Mercia, are not surprised to see enforcement activity.

“We will always ensure our activity is intelligence-led and therefore on our highest harm routes, if we know they are dangerous, we will consider how we best enforce those speed limits.

“I want West Mercia Police to do everything possible to protect people using our roads and lead the way in ensuring enforcement activity, particularly around the fatal four causes, which are drink and drug driving, speeding, mobile phone use and seatbelts.

“The speed limits on our roads are set for good reason and I want our local communities to have clarity around their understanding as to what speed limits are and mean.”

Latest road traffic accident figures for West Mercia are for 2016 and show the number of people killed was 40 (from 38 collisions) and 512 people seriously injured (from 457 collisions).

Figures for the same year in Warwickshire show 25 killed from 24 collisions and 351 seriously injured from 315 collisions.

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