Excellent news for fans of driving a bit fast and/or under the influence this week, as the Daily Telegraph confirmed that ‘police across the country are cutting back on breath tests and the enforcement of motoring laws.’
All this recession induced budget cutting may be a nuisance, but it’s an ill wind, as they say. Latest government stats reveal there were almost a quarter fewer breath tests carried out in May this year than in the same month last year.
Twenty of the 35 police forces responding to a recent Freeworm of Information request confirm that they have cut traffic cop numbers in the year to May. In Essex, the Torygraph reports, the number of officers assigned to traffic duties fell from 268 to 221. Combined with a wholesale junking of speed cameras, there’s certainly an exhilarating new air of lawlessness abroad on Britain’s increasingly deregulated highways.
Nanny statists may contend there’s some far fetched link between these developments and latest official road casualty statistics showing the number of people killed or seriously injured rising for the first time in four years during Q1 2011. They would, wouldn’t they!
“It is a known fact that policing is facing cuts and chiefs are making difficult decisions to ensure that we can meet the economical challenges and keep the public safe,” a police spokesman blathered, whilst not entirely sidestepping the hazard of self-contradiction.
‘It is for chief constables to deploy officers where they are most needed,’ declared road safety minister Mike Pennis. Quite so, and the buck, all right minded people will surely agree, quite properly stops with these unfortunate individuals.
It is sadly inevitable, of course, that these necessary cuts will hurt some more than others, but let’s face it: you can’t make an omelette, etc. etc.