Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire PCC wants Highways England to police major roads

Martin Surl Image copyright Glos PCC
Image caption Martin Surl wants uniformed Highways England traffic officers to be given police powers

Road policing should be transferred from local forces to Highways England (HE), Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has said.

Martin Surl is calling for a "major rethink" on how roads, such as the M5 through the county, are governed.

He said: "Why should Gloucestershire tax payers pay for lorries to be policed going through the county? That should be a national responsibility."

An HE spokesman said it would need to be approved by the Home Office.

HE is responsible for operating and maintaining the country's motorways and major A-roads including the A417 and M5, through Gloucestershire.

'Focus on crime'

Despite not being "an enforcement organisation" Mr Surl said it would be straightforward for the agency's uniformed traffic officers to be given police powers by the government.

"The days when police are tied-up checking heavy goods vehicles, tachographs, the weight of loads - the sort of things a traditional traffic officer used to do - are past," he said.

"If the police are to focus on more serious issues like organised crime, modern slavery and child sexual exploitation they cannot do it all."

He is calling for the system to be more like the rail network, which is policed by the British Transport Police and funded by the rail network not local taxpayers.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Martin Surl wants Highways England traffic officers to have police powers

"We have a strategic road network that isn't policed effectively because the resources aren't there," he said.

"There is a responsibility for Highways England and for the Ministry of Transport and just saying 'let the police do it' is not a sensible solution."

At a meeting with the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, last week, Mr Surl said his idea was well received.

HE and the Department of Transport have declined to comment but said they were not responsible for implementing any changes at the moment.

They added, the issue would need to be considered, consulted and approved by the Home Office.

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