Experts call on forces to boost numbers to stop crime (From Bournemouth Echo)

THE number of dedicated traffic police officers in Dorset has fallen by nearly a third in eight years, latest figures have revealed.

In 2009 there were two inspectors, six sergeants and 53 constables assigned to road policing duties.

This year there is one inspector, seven sergeants and 35 constables.

The figures reflect the national picture where all but five of the 45 territorial forces have reported a fall in the number of traffic officers.

A Freedom of Information request revealed cuts have accelerated in the past five years with numbers falling 24 per cent since 2012.

Now experts have questioned how new laws, such as the ban on using mobiles while driving, can be enforced with 30 per cent fewer officers dedicated to policing roads.

The AA said the decline could see more drivers getting away with their crimes.

A spokesman said: “We need more cops in cars, not fewer.

“The UK has among the safest roads in Europe, although the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads has started to rise after many years of steady decline. Maybe there is a link.”

He added: “Even senior officers have publicly expressed concern at the falling number of their colleagues.”

Jason Wakeford, from road safety charity Brake, added: “On average, five people die every single day on our roads. This is unacceptable.

“The government and police forces have to start treating road policing as a national priority and reverse the savage cuts to officer numbers.”

A spokesman for Dorset Police said the force now shares resources with Devon and Cornwall Police through its Strategic Alliance and can call on support from there when necessary.

The number of dedicated officers in Dorset between 2009 and 2017 is as follows:

2009 2 inspectors 6 sergeants and 53 constables

2012 1 inspector 6 sergeants and 40 constables

2013 1 inspector 7 sergeants and 40 constables

2014 1 inspector, 7 sergeants, 40 constables

2015 1 inspector, 7 sergeants, 40 constables

2016 1 inspector, 7 sergeants, 40 constables

2017 1 inspector, 7 sergeants, 35 constables

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