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Traffic police move ‘is not a done deal’
A decision to move Skipton traffic police to Harrogate is not a done deal, Craven councillors were told.
Superintendent Nick Hunter, deputy director of specialist operations for North Yorkshire Police, told the council’s overview and scrutiny committee that a review was currently ongoing.
He said the force, like the council, was subject to the government comprehensive spending review and needed to make itself more efficient.
But he stressed that did not mean there would be a loss in service in Craven and added no decision had been made.
The force was currently consulting with key partners, such as the council, and would expand that consultation further with a view to making any changes in April next year.
Council leader Coun Chris Knowles-Fitton (Cons) said he understood the pressures the force was under and was under the impression that a decision had already been made to move the traffic unit to Harrogate.
“I am thinking this is a done deal and if that is the likely end game, are you satisfied that you can provide an adequate service by the road policing group to cover Skipton,” he said.
But Supt Hunter said it was “absolutely not” a done deal.
“We do understand the unique nature of Craven and can assure you that whatever changes are made, that provision will not reduce and there will be no detriment to the service,” he said.
He added that the unit, which was currently “three or four” cars, was not always fully operational from Skipton because of shift patterns.
In addition to the force’s traffic unit, the review of specialist operations includes the dog unit and the firearms unit.
Supt Hunter said an area being looked at to make traffic policing more efficient was the creation of a team dealing exclusively with fatal and serious accidents.
Currently, such incidents were investigated by general traffic officers and it was estimated a single fatal collision took up 221 hours of officer time.
Other efficiency ideas was the use of a safety camera van which could be sent to accident hotspots and had already been proved to be a success in reducing accidents.
“This will free up time for officers who have to patrol these areas, “ he said.
The force was also expanding its use of auto number plate recognition which had already proved to be successful in the catching of cross border criminals.
Coun David Ireton (Cons), the council’s police authority member, told the committee the review was not looking at a reduction in the traffic policing service.
“This is not about doing away with traffic police in Craven, it is about having them in a different way,” he said.
Coun John Roberts (Cons), committee chairman, told the meeting that a response from the council would be sent to chief superintendent Alison Higgins.