Responding to A6 Concerns; Simon Cole QPM, Chief Constable, Leicestershire Police writes
Having read the Kibworth Chronicle article on concerns about speeding on the A6 I thought that I might reassure your readers that your hugely committed neighbourhood team, and the Force wide multi-agency Safer Roads Partnership, are aware of those concerns and have given them appropriate attention. Of course those concerns aren’t the only ones that we have to deal with; in 2020 we dealt with over 141,000 emergency 999 calls, 96% of them answered within 10 seconds, over 333,000 non-emergency calls, 68% of them answered within 30 seconds, and well over 16,000 online reports. We have also made over 12,000 arrests (132 of which in December alone were for drink or drug driving), dealt with an average of 16 missing person reports every day and handled over 19,000 reports of COVID related incidents. That level of calls for service from local people means that we have to prioritise, especially as we rebuild police numbers after the pressures of austerity reduced our officer numbers from 2352 in 2010, when I became Chief Constable, to fewer than 1800 at some points. We are now recruiting again and heading back towards (and hopefully beyond) 2000 officers, which can only be good news for local communities and bad news for offenders.
Across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland we police 3,100 miles of roads; the setting of speed limits, road design and maintenance of those roads sit with the respective councils. During the COVID period since March around 100 communities have highlighted concerns about speeding in their area. Understandably those complaints have to be prioritised. Whilst road casualties locally have fallen during this millennium the Safer Roads Partnership is committed to reducing them further and this will be achieved through continued promotion of the three E’s – Engineering, Education and Enforcement. The Road Safety Partnership is striving hard to achieve better compliance with posted speed limits across the Force area. In 2020 over 20,000 drivers were subject of a Speed Awareness Course and this process will continue into 2021. It is fair to say that my postbag regularly includes people who want less speed enforcement, and who would prioritise other issues.
Great Glen dual carriageway
Some speeds recorded on the southbound section of the Great Glen dual carriageway are high. With this in mind, officers give periodic attention to the road during their normal patrols. However, the collision rate on the bypass is low and therefore we prioritise our finite resources in other areas that have more acute issues. Speeds through Kibworth Harcourt village on the A6 have been assessed and are found to be generally consistent with the posted 30 mph speed limit. Again collisions are not high on this stretch of carriageway. There are other sites elsewhere where partnership resources can be used more effectively to achieve greater road safety.
Speed Watch scheme
During 2019/20, the Force Traffic Management Section liaised with Leicestershire County Council regarding the implementation of a Community Speed Watch scheme in Kibworth. However, regrettably the whole programme was curtailed owing to the onset of COVID. Dependent upon the situation with the pandemic, the programme will be reviewed in the Spring of 2021. At some point in the future the CSW scheme in the village will hopefully go ahead.
Finally can I support the encouragement from the pages of the Chronicle that you sign up for Neighbourhood Link. Neighbourhood Link is a free email messaging service from Leicestershire Police, Neighbourhood Watch and other partner organisations, providing news and updates on policing matters that are relevant to you. If you sign up then you will receive email alerts about policing activity and initiatives in your local area, as well as crime prevention advice and information. You will also have the opportunity to reply directly to your neighbourhood team and provide feedback on local issues via surveys. It is available at www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk I’m signed up to it; you may well want to be too.