Reducing London's road crime

Plenary on 2018-11-01
Session date: 
November 1, 2018
Question By: 
Caroline Russell
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What action is the Metropolitan Police Service taking to make the streets of London safer for the most vulnerable road users?


Answer for Reducing London's road crime

Answer for Reducing London's road crime

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Cressida Dick CBE QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  Our focus has been working within the Vision Zero Strategy to tackle the most dangerous road users, to problem-solve at identified locations and to step up further our high-visibility operations and patrolling.  A huge amount of this work of course is done with others under the National Roads Policing Strategy and locally particularly with Transport for London (TfL), with whom we have really good co-working and integrated working.


We try to innovate, and we have lots of good examples of that.  We are working closely with community groups and other organisations.  We constantly review the data and profile what is happening, particularly in the most serious collisions.  We will use that data to target and deal with repeat offenders and those who cause the most danger.  We have an intelligence-led approach to that.  We problem-solve at repeat locations and we identify hotspots where we should be.


We carry out still - as many of you will remember from a long time ago - Operation Cubos, when we are out on the roads and ending up with vehicles often being seized in large numbers.  We are integrating some of our road safety operations with our violent crime operations because a number of people who are violent crime offenders of course use vehicles and drive them dangerously and/or without insurance.  Our road transport officers have contributed hugely to the reduction in moped-enabled crime, which of course has been horrendously dangerous in some instances with people driving in a completely anarchic way.  It is the road transport officers who are often the ones who are intervening and stopping the dangerous driving.


You will be aware that this year, sadly, we have had so far year-to-date 82 fatalities in London on our roads, which compares to last year when we had 105.


Caroline Russell AM:  Thank you.  People walking and cycling on our roads account for more than a third of the casualties and so that is where I want to focus our conversation.  It was really good to see that both the Police and Crime Plan and the Vision Zero Action Plan were talking about making London streets safer for people to walk and cycle.


A good way of reducing road danger is to cut speed, literally reducing the kinetic energy involved in any crash, and so I fully support the Mayor bringing in 20mph speed limits on 37 streets and town centres on the TfL Road Network by 2024.


I am from Islington.  We have main roads which have 20mph speed limits but no actual enforcement.  I am curious.  Commissioner, are you going to be committing more police officers to the new 20mph areas to enforce these limits or will these be enforced with cameras?


Cressida Dick CBE QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  Caroline, I just do not know and that is genuine.  That is just an ignorant answer.  I do not know what we are going to do.  I bet you somebody does in the MPS but I do not and I will have to come back to you.  Suffice it to say that you know that we have moved temporarily some people from - I am sure you are going to ask a question about that - our Roads and Transport Policing into our Violent Crime Taskforce.  They are, therefore, less able to do some of the enforcement activity that they were previously doing.  However, there is a nice synergy in many respects in the work in that violence on the buses and other forms of violence and some very dangerous road users are being targeted and brought to justice.  Precisely how enforcement is planned in the 20mph zones I am afraid I am going to have to write you about.  Apologies.


Caroline Russell AM:  That will be great.  I would be very interested to hear what the answer is eventually.


Londoners often complain to me about people driving too fast on the roads where they live.  One constituent who lives on a main road in Limehouse was apparently told by TfL to report every single instance of speeding to the police - or at least this is how the constituent told me - which seemed to be a rather laborious process.


I just wondered, Commissioner, in particular what you think the solution is for situations like this.  What should citizens who are experiencing this very dangerous behaviour on our roads be doing?


Cressida Dick CBE QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  I agree that that does sound slightly laborious and, anyway, of course, a person standing usually cannot tell precisely what speed somebody has gone at.  However, absolutely, we would encourage local communities and local groups to identify the places that they think are the ones where speeding is most prevalent.  It is something that our PCSOs in the Transport Command are out and looking for and looking out for.  We do regularly - I did it myself just the other day - stop motorists and speak to them about the manner in which they are driving even when we cannot prove that it has actually been at excessive speeds according to the law.  This is not something we ignore, and we do want the public to tell us where they are most concerned about.  We can usually then do some work to discover whether that is a hotspot for excess speed and we do enforcement in those places.


Caroline Russell AM:  That is very reassuring because you have had terrible cuts and huge pressures on the police in all areas of policing, and people feel that the police do not really care that much about road traffic crime.  Particularly when they raise it with their Safer Neighbourhood meetings right down at ward level, it is very often not even an option for it to be included in the ward priorities.  I am just interested.  Right down to that ward level of policing, how do you feel about them taking up traffic policing and traffic issues?


Cressida Dick CBE QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  A lot of the reductions in speeds that we have achieved have been through other measures than enforcement, as you know, right across the country but not least in London through changing driver behaviour, through informing drivers better, through having clear signage and indeed through the public talking to other members of the public and their family and friends about it.  We do need to continue with technology and those other methods.


I was at a ward panel not so long ago where this was an issue and the neighbourhood officers there were able to say what they had done and what they would do, together with colleagues, but it is always a matter of priority, as you say.  There will be many places in which this is not those officers’ highest priority, I am afraid.


Caroline Russell AM:  Anything you can do to help get the seriousness and the impact on families of people being killed or very seriously injured on our roads is huge.


Finally, I just wanted to congratulate you on picking up on the successful West Midlands close-pass policing scheme, where you have plainclothes officers on bikes who then experience people driving too close to them and are then picked up.  I gather that apart from picking up these vehicles that are dangerously closely passing the cyclists, you are also collect catching a lot of people with lack of insurance, bald tyres, talking on the phone at the wheel and all sorts of other things that are dangerous and risky.


Are you planning any increase of the close-pass policing that is going on at the moment?


Cressida Dick CBE QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  I am not.  It is possible they are.  I will let you know.  Sorry.