MOVES by police to look into the way they investigate road deaths has been welcomed by a Wisbech family.
The family of Jamie Butcher, who was tragically killed by a speeding motorist, said the consultation by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is a step in the right direction but are continuing to campaign for tougher sentencing for drivers.
Stepdad Steve Green said: “The investigating side of things went fairly well for us – we were let down with the sentencing – but it’s great that it’s all being looked at.”
ACPO wants the public to comment on police standards when responding, reporting and investigating road traffic collisions and the results of the consultation will influence an agreed policy and guidance published by ACPO that will aim to provide direction for the next five years.
Assistant Chief Constable Sean White, ACPO lead for the investigation of fatal and life changing road collisions across England and Wales, said: “The police service is committed to preventing and reducing the loss of life or serious injury on our roads.
“Long-term trends indicate that together with other agencies we are achieving that ambition. However, in 2011 in England and Wales on average five people still lost their lives on our roads every day, 63 people sustained serious injuries and hundreds of others suffered other injuries.”
Reported road deaths have reduced from about 5,500 a year in the mid 1980s to fewer than 2,000 last year (2011). Over the same period, reported road casualties have decreased from 240,000 to just over 200,000.
ACC Sean White encouraged the public to comment on how they would like to see police respond, investigate and report on road traffic collisions, including bereaved family and friends who have had firsthand experience of police involvement.
He added: “Families quite rightly expect their police service to prevent and reduce these collisions from occurring and in the unexpected event that it impacts upon them they are entitled to the best service and support to aid them through such difficult time.
“We are committed to listening to their experiences and views as well as those of partner agencies, and to updating and amending our policy and practices to keep pace with and, where possible, exceed expectations.”
Amy Aeron-Thomas, executive director of RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims that Jamie Butcher’s family have been raising money for, said: “A thorough investigation is essential for justice.
“Without it, there is no chance of understanding what caused the collision, if someone should be prosecuted, the victim should be compensated, or how risk can be reduced in the future.
“With road deaths outnumbering homicides by three to one and all of us using the roads, the importance of police collision investigation cannot be over overstated.”
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, the road safety charity, also welcomed the review of the Road Death Investigation Manual.
She said: “As a charity providing national support services to people affected by a road death or serious injury, we bear witness to the terrible devastation these collisions cause. It is critical these families get the help they need, and that we learn from collisions to prevent further tragedies; police work liaising with victims and investigating crashes is fundamental to this.”
The consultation is open until 7th September 2012 and comments can be made by filling out a consultation form via the Cleveland Police website: www.cleveland.police.uk/contact-us/ManualReview1.aspx or by writing to ACC Sean White via Cleveland Police Headquarters, PO Box 70, Ladgate Lane, Middlesbrough, TS8 9EH.