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The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.

Possibilities for better organized enforcement in EU Member States

Possibilities for better organized enforcement in EU Member States

At the ESCAPE workshop on traffic law enforcement [44] consensus could be found on a list of priorities for better organized police traffic enforcement in the EU Member States:

A strong role for the police as adviser in traffic affairs

The police are the 'ears and eyes' of society, also in the field of traffic where the police develop very practical knowledge of how the traffic system actually works. Many traffic and enforcement problems may be avoided in the first place if traffic police is consulted in advance about infrastructural changes, planning of special events etc.

Quantitative targets

Setting targets is necessary to motivate, steer and evaluate police activities.

Solid criteria for planning of enforcement activities

Given scarce resources of traffic police there should be good criteria on which to base decisions about allocation of these resources to enforcement activities.

Yearly monitoring of traffic behaviours

Besides crash data, behavioural data provides input for planning of enforcement activities. Also, the targets for the traffic police may be behavioural targets, e.g. 85% of the front-seat occupants wear seat belts inside built-up areas.

Crash registration quality

Crash data is the most widely used and often only source of data that is used to plan, steer and evaluate police enforcement activities. Given this importance of crash data the quality of crash data registration should be a continuous concern for police, authorities and research institutes.

Evaluation

Evaluation of police enforcement activities is the only way to find out whether the activities were meaningful, successful, well planned, well-executed etc. Without evaluation of some kind, one cannot conclude anything about the value of the police activities.

European knowledge body

The knowledge gained from enforcement activities in some countries or in some regions should be freely available to every European force that wants to learn from the experience of others. For this purpose, it seems a good idea if there is some European body that collects the practical experience of various European police forces with enforcement activities and that makes this knowledge freely available by modern technological means (internet, electronic helpdesk etc.).

Enforcement guidelines.

It was pointed out that enforcement guidelines for police operations in the streets are very important for the quality of the actual police work. The organisation TISPOL is investigating whether European guidelines can be established.

Clear responsibilities of parties involved in road safety or enforcement activities.

The traffic police have a very specific responsibility in road safety or enforcement projects. However, other parties (road authorities, Government, crash-registration agency) are also involved in road safety work. The specific responsibilities of the partners in a project should be clear. In the Czech Republic, for instance, the traffic police are almost solely held responsible for all matters involving road safety. Clearly, too much responsibility is loaded on the shoulders of one organisation. Well-defined responsibilities ensure that every partner can be specifically held accountable for a specific performance. It was indicated that the police should not only be adviser but also be held directly responsible for certain outcomes.

There should also be qualitative targets, e.g. perceived environmental quality.

Not all qualities can be measured objectively.