By Local Democracy Reporter
ESSEX Police has admitted there has been a retrograde step in the number of people killed on the county’s roads – with the crime commissioner blaming a mild winter on the increase in deaths.
While exact figures are not available yet, indicative figures suggest that there has been a slight decrease in the total number of people killed and seriously injured (KSI) on Essex roads.
But it appears that fatalities have risen. It is expected that we will have access to this data within the next month.
Essex Crime and Police Commissioner, Roger Hirst, told the Essex crime panel on May 23: “We are aware that the number of fatalities has risen in the last quarter – largely weather related.
“We were lucky last year that we had a long tough winter – bad winter weather puts more people off and you tend to have fewer KSI when the weather’s bad than when its good.
“This has been a relatively mild winter and it tends to be a higher risk time when the light is short and weather improving.
“This year has been a more normal year, sadly, and what we are trying to do is bring normal down to a different level of normal.
“The trend line is still in the right direction but I think we have to expect the last quarter to show a bit of a retrograde step.”
Alongside this, there has been a continued increase in the number of arrests for drug driving in the last quarter with Essex Police – in common with other forces that are actively drug-wiping individuals suspected of driving under the influence of cannabis or cocaine – arresting more drug drivers than drink drivers each month.
During the last quarter, 376 drink drivers were arrested, compared with 445 drug drivers (19 per cent more).
During the quarter, there were 96 police deployments to improve road safety and tackle criminality on Essex roads, resulting in 3,841 vehicles being stopped, 156 arrests being made and 43 vehicles being seized.
Mr Hirst added: “November was the first month that we picked up more drug driving than drink driving offices
“That is in part because we have got better at that with the drugs swipes that better inform that.
“They are a lot more expensive than a breathalyser test but it is a real crime and we need to recognise that it is behind quite of lot of serious injuries on our roads.
“There is a problem in so far that people who have been using drugs are perhaps less aware of the residual effects.”