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Les Owen, Senior Compliance Associate at Compliance Bureau, responds to Natalie Middleton, Business Editor, Fleet World question “Are increases in magistrates’ court fine limits draconian?”

July 11, 2014

Natalie, you bring another good discussion to the forum. I fear the Government is not joined up in its approach to driving on UK roads. Your contributors rightly point out one delay such as young drivers not being allowed to take to the road. There have been more contradictions in approach over the years, from every colour of government.

Another good point raised is that without roads policing officers, any offences are less likely to be brought to court. Too many police forces in the UK have reduced police numbers in roads policing and yet officers do so much more than their title suggests – I wager that they do more crime arrests than we give them credit for.

Let us not forget though that fines are attributed by magistrates and are usually more proportional than just the maximum levels quoted in this article. Vey few will ever get to those levels of fines.

To support Edmund King, we need proportionality. But this key argument comes from the principles of enforcement that ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) employs. There must be proportionality, targeting, consistency and transparency in dealing with offenders. Roads policing police officers spend a significant part of their day advising and educating to reduce incidents and they have done a magnificent job over the past 15 years (look at the KSI statistics).

Let us have more roads policing, more joined-up thinking and less government interference for their political point scoring or just to oppose the other party. As Martin Wedge points out, if we reduce road deaths we save the country money, which can be better employed on road safety. If we start the other way around and spend some more on road safety, we will save money on road deaths.

Having spent many years policing, and now assisting companies and organisations to reduce road incidents I know that more can be done with education, engineering and then some enforcement – but all of these are part of a package. We regularly advise others how to manage staff who drive at work and avoid incidents, and thus save companies money.

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