Gloucestershire Police needs extra officers and more experience in its roads policing department, the force’s Federation has said.
Insp Dan Wakefield, Gloucestershire Police Federation Representative and Roads Policing and Forensic Collision Investigator with the force, warned the force is facing an “experience gap”.
He said: “At the moment I’m supposed to have 30 officers. Presently we have about 25. We’re going to have an experience gap whereby we’re going to have 25% of new roads policing constables, so we’ll have 25% of our whole team will have less than 2 years’ experience in roads policing.”
He was speaking after the National Roads Policing Conference in Warwickshire on 28 January.
He said: “The reality is that we can probably deal with one fatal collision at a time and that is it. We have to reach out to our friends in neighbouring forces to pay them to come and do our work for us should a fatal collision happen. Because they run the Collision Investigation Unit and they just come out on an on-call basis to a collision where somebody’s either killed or seriously injured on the roads. That comes at a cost.
“We’ve had approximately 10 serious collisions already for 2020 and five of those are fatal. When you’re looking at a team of basically three people, one new trainee who you can’t take on prosecution files, that’s a big ask. I’ve paid people overtime, and we’re in a big position, I feel, where we’re looking at wellbeing and it effecting people at work and outside of work.”
He said the demand on other officers was such that they don’t want to stop cars, adding: “They’re just going from call to call to call because they’re so short on the streets.”
“In my view there just isn’t that time to stop a vehicle and speak to a driver and then breathalyse them or stop and search the vehicle if it smells of drugs and things and just go on those proactivity stuff. We get around 500 calls a day at Gloucestershire as a police service, and we’re just chasing those. Every single day we’re not able to meet that demand so it just backs up to the following day.”