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Police cutbacks help explain casualty drop

Road Safety

12 June 2020

A big fall in reported slight injury road casualties in Leicestershire is partly explained by reduced police resources, says Leicestershire County Council. 

Ann Carruthers, Leicestershire’s director of environment and transport, told councillors that a “statistically significant decline in the number of reported collisions has emerged in Leicestershire, specifically appearing to involve collisions with slight injuries”. 

“During 2017 and 2018, the council received 30 per cent fewer reports compared with 2016. This appears to primarily be affecting collisions reported in Leicestershire, rather than the City of Leicester.”

She said Leicestershire Police believed just over half (17 per cent) of the reduction was the result of “resource-driven process changes”.

Councils only receive collision reports if the collision is attended by a police officer or reported to a police station. 

“Police officers are typically no longer deployed to collisions where casualties have only suffered slight injuries, despite such collisions being part of the STATS19 dataset,” said Carruthers. “It is therefore incumbent on the casualties involved to report such collisions to the ever-lessening number of police stations.”

In 2018, 1,207 reported casualties of all severities were reported, similar to the 1,193 reported in 2017, but “significantly lower than every year before this, and 48 per cent lower than the 2006-2010 average”. 

Provisional statistics for 2019 show a 21 per cent fall in casualties of all severities, to 956. 

“Should the final number of casualties of all severities and killed or seriously injured casualties remain significantly lower than previous years, this will be investigated with Leicestershire Police to establish whether it is a genuine reduction or a data quality issue,” said Carruthers.

She said Leicestershire was reviewing how it identifies accident cluster sites, given the concerns about data quality. “Options include retaining the current approach, moving to an approach based on killed or seriously injured (KSI) collision statistics only, or a more formulaic hybrid where higher severities are weighted more highly.” 

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