DORSET Police has today announced that it is pouring more resources into its ‘no excuse’ campaign.
In doing so, it has published figures which show that the total cost of road safety for the county during the financial year of 2013/14 was £5,323,000.
That included £1,564,000 for the Driver Awareness Scheme. The course generated £2,533,000 in income from fees, which the police said had been re-invested into road safety.
The announcement that a new team will be set up to enhance the ‘no excuse’ campaign comes against a backdrop of rising fatalities on the county’s roads.
Last year, 28 people were killed, compared to 24 in 2012 and 19 in 2011.
Dorset’s fatality figures continue to be higher than other force areas and Dorset Police said that road safety remained a priority.
Superintendent Nicky Searle, of Dorset Police’s Operational Support Command, said: “People tell us they want to see more visible policing on Dorset’s roads, not just a reliance on speed cameras and we have responded.
“In autumn this year we are introducing a dedicated, self-funded ‘no excuse’ team of trained police officers.
“They will be focusing on known causes of collisions on our roads, which are speeding, careless driving, using mobile phones, not wearing seatbelts and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Dorset Police is totally committed to reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads.
“I want to ensure that through ‘no excuse’ activity there is a real focus on driver awareness of the impact that motoring offences can have on people’s lives, however unintentional. The focus of the team will be on providing education to change driver behaviour and to save lives.”
From October the new team, consisting of one sergeant, six constables and two dedicated members of police staff will solely concentrate on ‘no excuse’ enforcement and follow-up enquiries in relation to issued tickets where the motorist failed to respond to the penalty.
Officers will issue fixed penalty notices and advice and also provide an educational booklet, which gives information and guidance on avoiding driving carelessly.
In most of the cases where motorists receive a fixed penalty notice they can choose to attend a course under the Driver Awareness Scheme costing £110 as an alternative to penalty points.
Superintendent Searle added: “The enhanced ‘no excuse’ team will provide a dedicated resource in the fight to tackle the main offences which are contributing factors in many road traffic collisions.
“Importantly, this isn’t just about speeding. Officers can respond to dangerous driving that cameras are not able to. Drivers tell us that face to face contact with a police officer is the most impactive way to address behaviour on the roads.
“The figures show that despite the great work by the ‘no excuse’ campaign so far, more needs to be done if the number of serious injuries and deaths on Dorset’s road are to decrease.
“The effects of serious road traffic collisions are far reaching for all involved – the victims, their families, witnesses and also members of the emergency services, who deal with the aftermath of the collision and have to impart terrible news to the families of those involved in a road traffic collision.
“We are committed to challenging dangerous behaviour on our roads and investing money directly from enforcement back into this important area of policing to save lives.”
The figures released today do not include the Dorset Road Safe Partnership, which operates mobile speed cameras.
That cost was £1.29m in 2013/14 and was funded by local authorities – £500,000 – and Dorset Police – £790,000.