DORSET PCC TO REVIEW DRIVER AWARENESS SCHEME
An investigation led by Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill has concluded that Dorset Police did not mislead the public over improvements made to road safety or the costs and revenue associated with the Force's Driver Awareness Scheme (DAS).
The Dorset Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has today published the findings of the investigation, which was initiated by a public complaint in 2012. It was a complaint which the IPCC required to be investigated and was overseen by the Police and Crime Commissioner. Hampshire Police were appointed to conduct this investigation.
The investigation required review of many road safety practices at Dorset Police. Five fixed speed camera sites were examined and it was found that Dorset Road Safe is complying with legislation and national guidance around these sites. The costs and revenue associated with the operation of Dorset Driver Awareness Scheme were also examined and no excessive costs were identified. The investigation did not identify unacceptable practices or cover-ups by any member of Dorset Police or Dorset Road Safe.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “I welcome this investigation report which has concluded that Dorset Police did not mislead the public over improvements made to road safety or the costs and revenue associated with the Force’s Driver Awareness Scheme (DAS). I have met with the complainant who is now fully informed regarding the conclusions of this investigation. We have also posted the full report on our website in order to be open and transparent about the findings of this investigation.
“After receiving the Hampshire report in April, a few questions remained unanswered. I requested a supplementary investigation to address some concerns I had regarding road safety practices at Dorset Police. Having now received the supplementary report I can say that the two investigations leave me with the four key findings”
1) The various complaints against Dorset Police and the Chief Constable are not upheld.
2) In the past, the correlation between the cost of a fixed penalty for an offence of speeding and the cost of a driver awareness courses has been inconsistent, nationally. It is unhelpful to comment on decisions made by my predecessor organisation, Dorset Police Authority, but what I can be clear on is that I wish the fees to mirror the national fixed penalty rate set by the government with a small administration charge added of £10. The current fixed penalty rate is £100 and therefore we will charge £110. That charge will not alter until the government changes the national rate. This means we are now in closer alignment with national guidelines.
3) Driver Awareness Courses – Dorset Police offer driver awareness training as an alternative to prosecution or a fixed penalty notice. The evidence base shows that this makes a higher impact on driver behaviour and subsequently assists my Police and Crime Plan priority of reducing harm to people in Dorset through road casualties. The investigation highlighted that Dorset Police apparently step outside of national guidance by offering training to repeat offenders within a 3 year period and I was not satisfied that the rationale for this policy was adequately recorded in the governance arrangements for the Driver Awareness Scheme. I have therefore asked the Chief Constable to review this policy and ensure that the evidence base and rationale is presented before the Joint Executive Committee of the Force before I can support its continued use. As a result the Force has suspended this policy until the outcome of this review is published. This means the Driver Awareness course will only be available to drivers who have not already attended a course anywhere in the country within the past three years.
4) Holes Bay Camera - The supplementary report also examined the decision-making surrounding the placement and removal of the ‘speed on green’ cameras at Holes Bay Road, Poole. The report has found that decisions made in respect of the ‘speed on green’ cameras at Holes Bay Road were made at the appropriate level and the rationale for the decisions is recorded within the minutes of Borough of Poole Transportation Advisory Group and full Cabinet.