Civilian road police could be given police powers
Civilian road patrols could be given the power to fine motorists breaking the law under a proposed policy from the Government.
In a bid to prevent motorists from speeding or talking on mobile phones, the Highways England officers' would be given limited policing powers allowing them to give motorists on the spot fines or even make arrests.
At present there are more than 1,500 non uniformed road patrols work on Britain’s motorways and A-roads to ensure traffic flows during traffic jams and crashes but at present their power is extremely limited.
Volunteers should not replace a warranted officer
The proposed policy has been met with skepticism from the Police Federation however.
Jayne Willetts, lead on Roads Policing for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “This is at the proposal stage, and we would need to see more details of how it might work before giving it our full support.
“While we do support the services of stakeholders, these volunteers should not replace a warranted officer. If we are looking at providing something as important as roads policing, having people who are potentially unaccountable to the chief constable could create problems. Dealing with road deaths, dangerous drivers and other risks on our major road networks is a job for the police.
Since their creation in 2004, the road patrols have had no official power to issue fines or arrest offenders, although it remains a criminal offence to ignore their instructions.
“We should be looking to invest in more highly trained, specialist roads policing officers for our roads, as they provide a deterrent to driving offenders, as well reassurance to other road users," Jayne adds.
The proposed change in policy, first reported in The Times (31 Jan), would also see the number of patrollers who currently work on Britain’s motorways and A-roads rise.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council have also been contacted for comment.