Responses from Merseyside PCC Candidates

Questions for 2016 PCC candidates

For the 2016 elections for Merseyside Police Commissioner, we emailed the four candidates with two questions about road safety as follows:

(1) Would you support a Safe System approach to road safety, with a vision of zero deaths and life-changing injuries?
(2) What measures would you support to achieve this?

As background to these questions,
  • Wirral Pedestrians Association (WPA) is very concerned about the high levels of serious pedestrian casualties in Merseyside (the worst in Great Britain),
  • in 2013, WPA and Merseyside Cycling Campaign jointly produced a Vision Zero Merseyside document (please see attached []) which set out proposals to eradicate fatal and serious injuries to Merseyside pedestrians and cyclists.

I hope that you will have time to reply.

By 3rd May, answers had been received from candidates John Coyne and Jane Kennedy:

Response from John Coyne:

Thank you for writing to me about pedestrian casualties and Vision Zero.

(1) Yes. I agree with the analysis and proposals in the WPA/MCC document you have provided.

(2) If elected as PCC I would ensure that more resources were found for road traffic law enforcement. If needed I would propose an increase in the police precept on the council tax and I am seeking an electoral mandate for such an increase.

I would amend the Police and Crime Plan to recognise the need to reduce road danger at its source and enforcement against moving traffic crimes, particularly speeding, would be a key priority.

I agree that police should also obey speed limits and other traffic laws for all non-emergency situations. As PCC I would work with the Chief Constable to ensure that compliance with road traffic laws was embedded within the ethos of Merseyside Police.

I would use the "soft power" of the PCC office to seek to influence crash investigation standards and prosecution and charging policies.

As an individual and (if elected) a decision maker, I already have experience of the dangers to vulnerable road users as I cycle and walk as a matter of course through the area's busiest roads. As an occasional car driver I always intend to comply with speed limits and other traffic laws.

Response from Jane Kennedy:

Thank you for re-sending this and giving me the opportunity to reply. I agree that the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads of Merseyside is too high in comparison with other similar police areas. A VisionZero approach may be exactly what we need to aspire to but the police could not deliver this alone, it takes resources across a number of agencies.

I would support a Safe System approach to road safety. This will require a number of organisations across Merseyside to agree to raising the priority of road safety and I commit to working with you to secure a pan-Merseyside approach. A Safe System approach would help achieve more engineering improvements and I am pleased to see some of the work that councils are already doing including the warning signs showing road injury statistics on major routes in St Helens, Sefton and the Wirral and the improvements to junctions in Liverpool. I would like to see the expanded use of speed cameras and have already asked for a survey of the accident 'hotspots' to consider what needs to be done.

I would make this a matter of discussion at the quarterly Force inspections where performance is scrutinised in detail. These are public meetings which I hold with the Force commanders and I already have discussed the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on a number of occasions. It may help focus attention if I make it a standing agenda item. I cannot commit to increasing police resources as these decisions are a matter for the Chief Constable but I will maintain my scrutiny of the Force performance.

I will work to secure a more consistent approach to speed limits throughout the region. For example, on Edge Lane from the junction with Holt Road to Laurel Road I do not think there are any speed signs. Consequently motorists think they are entering a 40mph road which takes them past the entrance to Botanic Park and the Hindu Temple. Compare this to East Prescot Road past the new Alder Hey Hospital where the speed limit is clearly signed as 40mph. I was surprised that the entrance to a children's hospital doesn't warrant a 30mph limit. This simply highlights the need for clarity and a dialogue with local councils and road safety partnerships.

I would be willing to consider adding road safety to the Police & Crime Plan but I do not agree that Merseyside "is not a safe and secure environment for children or adults to walk or cycle". I do agree that Merseyside's performance in terms of the official measure of KSIs (numbers killed or seriously injured) needs to improve and I will work to achieve that improvement.

I hope this is helpful.