Vision Zero is the KCC’s five-year Road Safety Strategy to deliver safer roads, towns and villages in Kent. It identifies Kent Police’s continuing responsibility to reduce driver behaviours that put themselves and others at risk such as distraction, impairment, inappropriate speed and other similarly socially unacceptable behaviour. Kent Police coordinate enforcement and education activity using data provided by the Road Safety Analyst and information provided in the Road Safety Forums, chaired by the Head of Roads Policing and attended by all Districts. In addition, the Roads Policing Unit also coordinate activities in accordance with the NPCC national operations focussing on the Fatal 4 offences, namely speeding, substance misuse, seatbelt offences and mobile phone use.
The current position is there is an 8% reduction in road deaths during the reporting period of November 2022 to the end of January 2023, compared to the same reporting period in 2021/2022, which equates to 1 less fatality. The Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) attended 13 road deaths in this period in 2021/2022 and 12 in the same reporting period in 2022/2023. The fatalities in this recent period consist of 5 drivers, 3 Passenger and 4 Pedestrians
Kent Police is committed to supporting Vision Zero, the Partnership road safety strategy that seeks to eliminate road deaths. The Vision Zero approach is incorporated into the daily business of the following teams: Roads Policing Unit, Roads Safety Unit, Serious Collision Investigations Unit, Safety Camera Team, Special Constabulary Roads Policing Unit and Community Speedwatch. Vision Zero branding has also been added to force safety camera vans and external communications and Local Policing Teams and Community Safety Units are contributing to the strategy through participation in NPCC campaigns and localised taskings following serious collisions. Officers from the Road Safety Unit work alongside LPT and CSU officers in locations that have been identified as collision hotspots.
Kent Police continue to chair a weekly partnership meeting which focusses on opportunities under the following headings: Education, Engagement, Enforcement and Reaction. The membership to this meeting has grown allowing more activities to be coordinated across all partnership resources, concentrating on locations where road deaths and serious injury collisions have occurred. Key topics of discussion include upcoming events, national campaigns, partner communications, response plans and community concerns. Members include KCC, KMSCP, Medway Council, National Highways, KFRS, Community Speedwatch and Kent Police.
The Kent Roads Policing Unit continues to implement the simple and flexible 7-day response plan, following any road death. This focuses on Education, Engagement, Enforcement and Reaction. Throughout the reporting period there have been 13 plans commenced. Results from these plans include.
Review of road layout and lighting at a repeat location.
A KCC led education plan aimed at raising the awareness of HGV drivers to pedestrians and cyclists on certain routes.
The creation of two new mobile speed camera van sites.
Increased levels of speed enforcement checks.
Increased education and engagement with young motorcyclists.
Roads Policing Officers tasked with patrolling routes used by vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists during hours of darkness.
Coordination and Governance
Weekly Vision Zero partnership meeting chaired by Kent Police.
Bi-monthly KSI meeting chaired by Kent Police.
Quarterly Roads Safety Forum involving all CSUs across the County.
Quarterly Safer Roads for Kent Strategic Meeting with KCC Head of Transport and Tac Ops Superintendent, chaired by the PCC.
Activities during reporting period
Examples of enforcement during this reporting period was a multi-agency operation led by Kent Police taking place quarterly on each Division and involve Local Authorities and partnership organisations. The Road Safety Unit executed the third operation of the year working in partnership with Ashford CPT, East Kent SC, Rural task Force, DVSA and Ashford Borough Council Waste Enforcement Team. This was a proactive roads-based operation which incorporated a stop site on Henwood Industrial estate as well as partner agencies crewing with Police officers in mobile patrols. Vehicles were searched, examined and offences investigated. 18 vehicles were stopped at the stop site and further vehicles stopped on the roads around Ashford resulting in one arrest, 9 vehicle seizures and 35 Traffic Offence Reports for various offences.
On a daily basis the force continues to focus on the offences that have the most impact on road deaths, the Fatal 4, and the table below demonstrates this:
Mobile Phone Enforcement
Drink Drive Arrests
Drug Drive Arrests
Kent Police actively participate in the NPCC National Road Safety Campaigns and during the last NPCC campaign (Drink and Drug drive enforcement in December), Kent officers stopped over 200 vehicles, with 158 positive/refused breath tests and 91 positive drug wipes.
Officers from the Roads Safety Unit are now trained to use Tru-Cam equipment which provides additional speed enforcement across Kent where it is not possible for a mobile safety camera van. Training for Roads Policing Unit officers and Special Constabulary is planned for this year.
Kent & Medway Safety Camera Partnership
This consists of Kent Police, KCC, Medway Council and National Highways and there are 4 mobile camera vans in operation, which attend KMSCP sites, Community Speedwatch locations and sites of community concern. There are 75 fixed speed camera sites in Kent and 2 Red Traffic Light enforcement camera sites in Kent. The mobile camera operators are trained in enforcement for not only speed offences but also other road safety offences such as seatbelts, mobile phone usage and drivers not being in full control of their vehicle.
Special Constabulary Roads Policing Unit (SCRPU)
Kent Police are very fortunate to have a dedicated Special Constabulary Roads Policing Unit (RPU), which is aligned to the regular RPU and the Road Safety Unit to promote road safety and support the delivery of Vision Zero. The SCRPU fully support the National NPCC road safety campaigns and are trained to the same standard as regular RPU officers and now includes Police motorcyclists. The SCRPU also now has a qualified Police Driver Trainer who assists regular Driver Training colleagues in ensuring that officers and staff display the highest standards of driving and road safety across the organisation.
During the reporting period the SCRPU worked 2,649 hours, arrested 10 people in total, including 9 for driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs. They issued 48 KSI Traffic Offence Reports and 60 Traffic Offence Reports for other matters and 10 uninsured vehicles were seized.