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We have been so concerned about the situation in North Wales that we raised a formal complaint with the North Wales Police Authority.
After more than 2 months we had had no reply from the Chairman of the North Wales Police Authority: Councillor Malcolm King.

 
Introduction

We became concerned about the effects of road safety policy in North Wales. Preliminary and hinted-at figures seemed to suggest an increase in serious road accidents despite an increase in Scamera Partnership (Arrive Alive) activity. It has also been extremely annoying that the Chief Constable has not properly answered our questions (click here). Then the Scamera Partnership didn't answer our questions either. (click here)

So we raised a formal complaint.

Since the complaint has not been answered, we have now set a deadline of 21st October 2003.

new received 21st October, from Councillor Malcolm King, a letter saying it will take even more time.

5th August 2003
Mr King
North Wales Police Authority
Police Headquarters
Glan-y-Don
Colwyn Bay
Wales
LL29  8AW
 

Dear Mr King

road safety : a complaint

I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about North Wales Police road safety policy. I hold Mr Richard Brunstrom responsible. The complaints are as follows:

1) It is dangerous to base road safety policy largely or wholly on speed limit enforcement. Casualty statistics which purport to support such policies are usually seriously flawed. Fortunately the flaws can usually be exposed with some basic questions.

2) I wrote a letter to Inspector Dave Jones on the 10th July 2003 (cc: Mr Richard Brunstrom and others) seeking clarifications of the claims of success from the “Arrive Alive” web site, but I have had no reply. I attach a copy. It is most important that we have answers to those questions.

3) Arrive Alive publishes falsely based statistics in an attempt to delude the public that their policies are working. I do not claim that they are creating false figures, rather that the basis for their figures is excessively favourable and therefore misleading. Proper answers to my letter to Inspector Dave Jones would clearly expose most of the errors. [link]

4) Following a round of unsatisfactory correspondence I finally wrote a letter to Mr Richard Brunstrom on 30th May 2003. Copy attached. I have had no reply to this letter. The main question in that letter is so very basic and fundamental to the North Wales road safety policy that I consider it vital that the public and I receive a proper answer. The letters are displayed on the Internet at http://www.safespeed.org.uk/brunstrom.html.

5) As I understand it, it is the responsibility of the Police to enforce the law in the public interest. If Britain or indeed North Wales were showing sustained and substantial reductions in road casualties then it would be clear that the Police strategy was indeed in the public interest. However, the area wide figures for most types and classes of road casualty are showing much poorer improvements than we were used to from 1970 until 1993. Indeed, the most important figure of all, the “fatal accident rate” has stopped falling altogether despite an average and steady reduction of 5.26% per annum from 1950 until 1993. But with a decade of camera enforcement of speed limits the long-term beneficial reduction in the UK fatal accident rate has stalled. Vehicle improvements, medical improvements and road engineering improvements continue at the previous pace. Roads use continues to rise at the previous pace.

6) Given that there appears to be no road safety benefit resulting from Arrive Alive's activities, it is grossly irresponsible for the Police to pursue their policies when the public has clearly had enough. With grave damage being done to the relationship between Police and public we can only guess at the consequential effects on all other crime. 

7) I am also deeply concerned about Arrive Alive's operational tactics. I have had an email report today about a speed trap mounted at the very end of a 30mph section, catching vehicles accelerating a few yards too soon as they entered a national speed limit zone. I feel this indicates a desire to generate fines rather than to slow down drivers in an area of danger. 

I sincerely hope that it is clear from the tone and the content of this letter that my primary concern is road safety. I have yet to see any convincing evidence that speed cameras contribute to road safety at all, and when they are coupled with a reduction in traffic patrols it does not surprise me to see an increase in dangerous behaviours on the road.

The UK achieved the safest roads in the world a decade before we had speed cameras. In those days we knew how to improve road safety year on year and the figures proved that policy was effective. Now we have speed cameras everywhere and the road safety results are disappointing at best.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely
 
 

Paul Smith

Copies of other correspondence

We have had further cause to write to the North Wales Chief Constable since the original complaint was raised. These letters have been copied under separate cover to Councillor Malcolm King, chairman of the North Wales Police Authority.

These letters are dated: 8th August 2003, 15th August 2003 and 5th September 2003. They can be read (here)

11th October 2003
Councillor M King
North Wales Police Authority
Police Headquarters
Glan-y-Don
Colwyn Bay
Wales
LL29  8AW
 

Dear Mr King

unacceptable delay

I am still awaiting your reply to my letter of complaint addressed to you and dated  5th August 2003.

The delay is unacceptable. Accordingly if I do not have a substantial reply by 21st October 2003 I shall raise the matter with the Police Complaints Authority and others.

If you are facing particular delays obtaining information I will consider extending the deadline if you explain your difficulties.

I have today published my correspondence on the matter to the Internet at http://www.safespeed.org.uk/nwpa.html [this page]

I look forward to hearing from you by 21st October.

Yours sincerely
 
 

Paul Smith
CC: Martyn Jones MP

Speed cameras cost lives


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Copyright © SafeSpeed 2003
Created 11/10/2003. Last update 21/10/2003
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