Traffic Police Numbers Decreasing?

Published Date: 24th May 2016

New figures released by the Home office shows that the number of traffic cops policing the roads has fallen for another year.

Analysis by the RAC using the home office data shows that 30 out of 42 police forces dropped the number of staff in this role, resulting in a 5% decrease from 2014 to 2015

Over the past six years since 2010 the number of traffic police has been cut by 27% the study found

The numbers show that, outside of London, there were 3,901 traffic officers looking over our roads last year. That’s compared to 5,338 in 2010.

West Yorkshire police accounted for the biggest reduction with 91 specialist officers between 2014 and 2015 with a total across the country falling by 352. Avon and Somerset numbers fell by 35% and Northamptonshire saw a drop of 36%

Curiously Essex had its forces on the road almost doubled to 148. This comes as no surprise as the police force want to quickly tackle the area with the most careless driving convictions, than any other place in the country.

Devon and Cornwall also saw a rise to 88 officers along with Cheshire adding 30 more to its line up to make a total of 119.  


Pete Williams, Head of External Affairs at the RAC said “Overall, these figures make for grim reading and are likely to be met with dismay by law-abiding motorists.

“While some of the numbers may be explained by organisational changes, such as officers taking on multiple roles and police forces working in partnership to tackle crime, the data still clearly shows that a majority of forces have seen a further fall in the number of officers whose primary responsibility is tackling crime on our roads.”

Williams also added: “These findings also beg the question whether forces are increasingly turning to technology to enforce the law. Fixed speed cameras are a common sight on many roads, including on the hundreds of miles of highway being upgraded to smart motorways.

“The majority of motoring laws that exist to make our roads safer still rely on a physical officer present to either apply the law, or deter drivers from committing an offence in the first place.”