Hampshire cops get targets to catch drivers

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Traffic cops have been told to catch five speeding drivers a month to meet targets.

Officers have also been told to arrest at least 24 people a year amid a quota set down by bosses.

And with up to 120 officers out on general patrol it could mean as many as 600 speeding fines will be handed out in the Hampshire and Isle of Wight district each month by officers trying to hit their targets.

But the targets have been attacked by road campaigners.

Hugh Bladon, one of the founder members of the Association of British Drivers, said: 'It's absurd. You can't set targets for performance indicators for a thing like motoring offences.

'It should be done on the basis of what a police officer sees. It should be common sense and an issue of judgment. Targets are a completely nonsensical way of going about policing.

'We're all for having more police on the roads and getting away from automated traffic machines – cameras and so on.

'It seems the emphasis is grabbing people for speeding. Excessive speeding causes only five per cent of accidents. What about the way people drive?

'Tailgating, swapping lanes, cutting people up and not paying attention, where is the focus on that?'

Officers failed to reach targets for speeding, FIT tests, mobile phone and seat belt offences, and commercial vehicle checks in May 2008.

But the number of road-traffic incidents attended was above target.

There are 220 police officers policing Hampshire's roads but about 100 to 120 would find themselves subject to targets, Chief Superintendent John Campbell, head of operations, told a Hampshire Police Authority meeting.

Authority chairwoman Jacqui Rayment said: 'I was looking at how many targets had been hit.

'If you're saying five per officer, and we've got 100 doing it, it could have a good hit rate.

'If it's 200 offences it's a pretty high hit rate.'

Afterwards Chief Supt Campbell said: 'It is a minimum expectation of what we expect officers to be doing on general patrol duties.

'We are not saying that at all costs someone must be arrested, definitely not.

'We've got a minimum expectation of officers if they are on the streets of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.'