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Police boss airs concerns about enforcement of 20mph default speed limit

28 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Dafydd Llywelyn, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys.

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

A police boss says there is a strong evidence for the roll-out of the 20mph speed limit in Wales on safety grounds, but added that officers didn’t want to be left “holding the baby” when it came to enforcing it.

Dafydd Llywelyn, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys, said there needed to be societal change, and enforcement on an incremental basis.

He had been asked at a Dyfed-Powys police and crime panel meeting if he was satisfied that he had sufficient enforcement resources.

The Plaid Cymru commissioner said police carried out the majority of speed enforcement on the country’s roads via the Welsh Government-funded road safety group GoSafe. This, he said, included the deployment of motorcyclists who could record drivers’ speeds, as well as the more familiar vans.

Mr Llywelyn said he understood the safety rationale behind the 20mph limit, which came into force on most residential streets last month. He said it was estimated that a single road fatality had average costs in excess of £1 million associated with it, such as investigation work and foregone income of the deceased.

He said: “If this policy reduces that figure, I’m 100% supportive of it.”

Mr Llywelyn said the Welsh Government had engaged behavioural scientists on the societal change element of the switch.

Representations

He added: “We (police forces) made representations to the Welsh Government from a policing point of view that we didn’t want to be holding the baby for enforcement.”

Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters said this week that the “grace period” for people breaking the 20mph limit was coming to end. Enforcement is to begin from December.

The Labour MS for Llanelli said research had showed there were three groups of drivers: one which would will follow the 20mph law “come what may”; another which “did not want to comply”; and a middle group which would adjust their behaviour if others did so. It was this middle group, he said, that the Welsh Government particularly sought to influence.

Mr Llywelyn, meanwhile, said he supported further discussions about the 20mph limit given the number of people who have signed a petition calling for it to be rescinded. The petition to the Senedd had been signed by more than 464,000 people as of October 27.

The commissioner said 108 people had died on Dyfed-Powys’s roads between 2018 and 2022 compared to 138 from 2013 to 2017. Panel member, Cllr Keith Evans, said he suspected that many of those were driver fatalities rather than pedestrian fatalities, which the 20mph limit particularly aimed to reduce.

Cllr Evans said he felt Welsh Government decisions about the 20mph policy could have been influenced by the public had more people taken part in a public consultation beforehand.

Cllr Evans, who asked the enforcement question, also wanted to know if Mr Llywelyn had had any discussions with the force’s chief constable regarding the approach it would take with this work. The commissioner said he hadn’t had any discussions as yet about resources, but pointed out there had been a “slight uplift” in GoSafe funding.

Cllr William Powell, meanwhile, said he was aware of some communities which had embraced the new speed limit to the extent that they were lobbying for the removal of 20mph “exemptions” for roads where the 30mph limit still applied.

Referring to enforcement, Cllr Powell said: “It’s good to see police forces adopting a proportionate response early on.”


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Annibendod
Annibendod
5 months ago

Sorry to be the one to state the blindingly obvious once more but in my experience, the vast majority are ignoring this limit. If you put officers out there with speed guns, drivers will do what they’ve always done. Slow down briefly, warn other drivers, speed up again when out of sight. If you want compliance with the law you need consent and the law must be agreed to be reasonable. At the moment a huge tranche of Welsh drivers would not agree on either point – which is precisely the problem. Whilst having some laudible aims, this new law… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
5 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

The new default speed limit for built up areas does have consent; it was in Welsh Labour’s 2019 Senedd election manifesto which all of us who voted tacitly accepted by taking part in the democratic process through accepting the election results. There were also numerous opportunities to oppose the implementation of this election policy, yet hardly any did until it was weaponised by the right-wing.

Speeding motorists are far better controlled by average speed cameras, which catch out anti-social drivers attempting to evade speed limits.

defaid
defaid
5 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Average speed cameras are ideal for long stretches but don’t work well on roads punctuated by roundabouts, junctions or lights. They also aren’t suitable for suburban or industrial estates.

FJholloway
FJholloway
5 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

The Welsh government is irrelevant, hence the turnout of just 40 percent. I am sure if they were told on the doorstep this would happen and furthermore you could only fly once a year in the future nobody would have voted for it.

Iago
Iago
5 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

How not to govern. You mean take on an initiative put forward by a Conservative politician that had cross party support. Put it in your manifesto and then actually implement the policy. Our goverments should be run by leaders who do what is in the interests of all, not sheep that pander to populist properganda fueled by those with the money and self intrest to manipulate social media and the press. Respect to Welsh Labour for being Shepherds and not the Tory sheep who seem to allow themselves to driven over a cliff edge by the populist Wolves.

Terry
Terry
5 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

I bet people will still vote for them at the next election

Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
5 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

There is not compliance to 30mph on free flowing roads, 50% of cars and 51% of vans exceeded the limit in 2022, so by that metric that limit should be scrapped also? It does not have consent, is poorly thought through, poorly implemented. Just because we are drivers does not mean that we know best when a government brings in legislation to reduce death and injury which at its most basic is one of the prime duties of a government. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/vehicle-speed-compliance-statistics-for-great-britain-2022/vehicle-speed-compliance-statistics-for-great-britain-2022

Jeff
Jeff
5 months ago

Sounds like a resourcing issue. What party denuded the police force in the UK?

BTW Cllr Keith Evans can have the figure directly and not “suspect”. The police record the accidents and conditions, pedestrians etc. They are publish by the government.

Pete
Pete
5 months ago

Let’s set 10 or better 5mph. Safer 😉
You are not longer capable of driving 40mph like your parents or grands. It’s not a disability, you are basically different. All for better world 😁
Also, more no-entry roads, please.

Ste
Ste
5 months ago

I don’t see how this effects the policing of the it. You recalbalibrate speed cameras, and instalments, and that’s it. It’s not even really the police that inforces the lower limits, it’s whatever company the vans belong to.

The majority policing of speeding of speed by the police is on motorways.

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
5 months ago

Good God…What idiots have we the Welsh spawned? The 20mph rule was not a good idea. 1.b The pollution at 20mph is more than 30mph….Test this…Drive at both speeds and see the fuel use ….more at 20mph. 2. The optimum speed for my 2 cars is 55mph. One is a Hybrid, petrol and the other is a deisel, 6 gear manual. Comsumption at 55 mph is about the same and better in the rain….but deisel costs more in the UK but cheaper in all other countries. Hybrid repair costs far less than internal combustion cars. 3. Drakeford and Lee Waters… Read more »

Robert morgan
Robert morgan
5 months ago
Reply to  Alun Gerrard

Untill the hybrid goes wrong

Iago
Iago
5 months ago
Reply to  Alun Gerrard

My mpg increased, hybrid car, as at 20mph or less ot spends more time in electric mode than previously. Your optimum speed at 55mph is irrelevant in a zone that limits speed either at 30 or 20mph. The fact that less breaking and acceleration is required mitigates additional consumption if you adjust driving style.

Robert morgan
Robert morgan
5 months ago

How many fatalities are contributing to excess alcohol, drugs, speed, neglecting speed (excess) reducing the speed unfortunately are not going to make a difference.
As for pedestrians, cyclists. How many pedestrians on the phone walking into traffic, unruly cyclists (not all) but a lot

Iago
Iago
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert morgan

The whole point of the change is that it will make a difference. Even with most ignoring it. It only takes one rule follower to slow down the flow of traffic. The end result is more people driving at a lower average speed in built up.and residential areas. The evidence in reduce fatalties and serious injuries in other parts of the UK and Europe that have adopted lower speed limits is strong.

Argol fawr!
Argol fawr!
5 months ago

“A police boss says there is a strong evidence for the roll-out of the 20mph speed limit in Wales on safety grounds, but added that officers didn’t want to be left “holding the baby” when it came to enforcing it.”

Admits the evidence of a 20mph benefit the public but worries over an officer’s discomfort enforcing the law. Being a police constable involves discomfort otherwise isn’t it malice? Just do your job gyfaill.

Iago
Iago
5 months ago
Reply to  Argol fawr!

Going forward he won’t have to worry about enforcing it. More and more youngsters have insurance with blackboxes and newer cars going forward will have limiters fitted.

Neil Thompson
Neil Thompson
5 months ago

Money would of been better spent employing more doctors and dentists not 20mph signs.
Didn’t vote last time because nothing changes only a new face at the wheel.
Will definitely vote this time and it won’t be Labour

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
5 months ago

I rather like the 20mph limit, it means most car drivers have slowed down to 30 through our village

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