Brake urges investment in life saving traffic police in response to falling numbers and rising casualties

Monday 9 February 2015

Brake, the road safety charity 

Brake, the road safety charity, is urging government to make traffic policing a national priority, in response to figures revealing that traffic police numbers in England and Wales have fallen by 23% in the past four years, from 5,635 in March 2010 to 4,356 in March 2014 [1]. This continues a trend, highlighted by Brake, which has been ongoing since at least 2008.

Critically, it is not just overall numbers of traffic police that are falling, but their strength as a proportion of all police officers, down from 3.9% in 2010 to 3.4% in 2014. Brake is concerned that this reduction in visible roads policing may be a factor in the increased road casualties recently revealed for the year ending September 2014.

Gary Rae, campaigns manager, Brake, said: "Effective, visible enforcement of traffic laws is absolutely critical to preventing road deaths and injuries. Drivers tempted to break the law need to know they will be caught, and that they won’t get off with just a slapped wrist. Traffic police numbers have been declining for years, and this may well be reflected in the increase in road casualties we are now seeing. Road traffic policing needs to be made a national priority, not a soft target for police cuts. Every extra traffic officer out on the road is an investment in saving lives and easing the strain on our other emergency services and on our struggling NHS.”

Brake campaigns for more dedicated traffic police and tougher penalties for law-breaking drivers through its crackdown campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #Crackdown.

Notes for editors


Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes

[1] Figures were released by the Ministry of Justice in response to a parliamentary question from Jack Dromey MP to Michael Penning MP, Minister of State for Justice, 2 February 2015

Tags: enforcement police government serious injury