Traffic officers to tackle ‘hardcore’
A NEW 25-strong team of specialist traffic police – armed with a fleet of undercover cars – is to be deployed in the battle to deal with the “hardcore” of reckless drivers plaguing communities in West Yorkshire’s main cities.
West Yorkshire Police is creating the “semi-covert” squad to clamp down on anti-social behaviour on the roads after increased concerns that traffic calming and reduced speed limit zones are not tackling the problems in Leeds and Bradford.
A head of roads policing role is also to be recreated, just 14 months after it was dissolved as part of a spending review enforced by Government cuts.
The overhaul – which is part of a three-year action plan to make the region’s roads safer – comes as new figures reveal that the overall number of serious casualties in West Yorkshire has actually fallen by almost a fifth.
However, Leeds and Bradford remain hotspot areas for incidents and “criminal use of roads”, and Leeds’s rate of reducing injuries and deaths is slower than the rest of the region.
In Leeds, 331 people were killed or seriously hurt in accidents last year, a seven per cent decrease, but the numbers of children and cyclists hurt rose slightly.
Across West Yorkshire, there were 886 deaths and serious injuries last year, an 18 per cent fall.
Senior police officers told a panel of councillors at Leeds Civic Hall that the way roads policing is being delivered has “significantly changed”.
“Previously we didn’t have a bespoke roads policing strategy for West Yorkshire, but we now do,” the panel was told. “We are now back to having a fully functioning and separate road policing unit for West Yorkshire.”
The chairman of Leeds City Council’s infrastructure and investment scrutiny panel, Coun Paul Truswell, said that tackling speeding and reckless driving was “one of the top priorities in local communities”.
Course tutor Sean Walker works on the Homelands art installation at the Endeavour Learning and Skills Centre in Hull, where migrants have shared their stories.