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Commissioner will keep traffic police in Skipton
7:00am Thursday 31st January 2013 in News
Traffic police are to remain in Skipton – and are set to become better equipped to tackle cross-border crime.
There were fears that the eight police cars stationed in Skipton would be moved to Harrogate.
But newly elected Police Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire Julia Mulligan confirmed that road policing will stay in Craven and traffic officers will be equipped with the latest Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.
Officers will also no longer have to deal with time-consuming serious collisions as they will be tackled by a force-wide major-collision team.
Mrs Mulligan, who lobbied for Skipton to retain its road policing unit, along with Craven District Council, the local community safety partnership and MP Julian Smith, said it showed what could be achieved through strong, local opposition.
“I am delighted the right decision has been made for Craven,” she said. “The force has listened and acted to retain our local service.”
North Yorkshire Police carried out a savings and efficiency review of its specialist operations units, including road policing and its firearms unit last year, but fears for the future of Skipton’s road traffic police started as early as 2011.
In addition to cutting the number of road policing units across the county from seven to four, it looked at other ways of making the force more efficient, such as the setting up of a unit specialising in serious collisions.
Mrs Mulligan said the new major collision team would free up traffic officers to carry on the usual work of road policing.
“Craven officers will be able to hand over the most serious incidents, allowing them to be deployed back on to our roads,” she said.
Cars will also be equipped with ANPR technology, which is already being used on a limited number of cars to great success.
“ANPR technology will be fitted to the roads policing cars which means officers will be able to put themselves where they are needed, rather than being reliant on the force control room in York monitoring hits and then deploying resources.
“This will have benefits regarding cross-border crime, which is a real problem in Craven and was a cornerstone of my manifesto.”
Coun Shelagh Marshall, chairman of the Safer Craven Partnership, said: “I am delighted that the decision has been made to retain the unit in Craven and also to enhance it. I would like to pay tribute to the hard work the officers put in to make the case for Craven.”
Coun Chris Knowles-Fitton, leader of Craven District Council, said there had been a real fear that the area was vulnerable to losing officers.
“The fact that traffic policing is going to stay in Skipton and that it is also going to be enhanced is brilliant news,” he said.
Coun John Roberts, chairman of the council’s select committee, which last year made representations to the force calling for traffic policing to remain in Craven, said: “I am delighted with the outcome of the policing review and that the control of units remains in Craven with the probability of enhanced capability.”