Traf­fic of­fi­cers to tackle ‘hard­core’

Yorkshire Post - - REGIONAL NEWS -

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.

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