Privatisation of M-way policing under review: Companies could win traffic enforcement role

MOTORWAY police patrols could be handed over to private operators such as the AA or Securicor under plans being considered by two government departments.

The Home Office and Department of Transport have set up high-level committees to review the enforcement of traffic offences, with the aims of making maximum use of new technology and of privatising as much as possible.

The Home Office team has angered police by sending out a questionnaire to police organisations asking what functions they consider 'core' and which are peripheral and, therefore, with the potential to be performed by the private sector.

Dick Coyles, chairman of the Police Federation, is angered by the lack of proper consultation: 'This is not the right way to look at such fundamental issues. While we agree with the objectives, there are a lot of concerns about handing over police functions to the private sector. What would happen, for example, if a speeding motorist were stopped and then stolen goods or drugs were seen in the car?'

Some police officers feel that recent advertising campaigns by the RAC and the AA showing 'knights of the road' and the 'fourth emergency service' are a sign that the motoring organisations want to take over traffic enforcement.

However, the RAC says it is against privatising enforcement as it would lead to over- eager policing arising out of an incentive to catch as many motorists as possible. Kevin Delaney, head of the RAC's traffic and road safety division, said: 'There is a danger that a private operator would just try to maximise revenue. A driver going at 90 mph on the M25 is a danger at 2pm in the afternoon but not at 2am in the morning and police try to respect that difference. A private operator wouldn't'

The RAC had no objection to privatisation of peripheral services like dangerous load escort duties and breakdown trucks after accidents, he said.

The Department of Transport's committee, headed by John MacGregor, the Secretary of State for Transport, is considering how the new motorway tolling system, which could be introduced before the end of the decade, will be policed. There is a reluctance to allow the police to enforce tolling as this would involve using highly trained men and women for a mundane task.

The committee is also looking at how to make more use of devices such as the automatic cameras, which record motorists speeding and jumping red lights and which have proved very effective at reducing accidents in the pilot areas.

Leading article, page 19

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin