January 3 2017
Green Assembly Member Sian Berry is calling for West Midlands Police’s close-pass initiative to be rolled out London-wide. She believes that a short trial in Camden has proven a success and that other boroughs should introduce similar operations.
The West Midlands Police initiative sees a traffic officer riding the most vulnerable locations for cyclists, notifying colleagues about close passes, distracted driving and other offences.
In September, Camden police said that they would be trialling something similar. Berry recently asked the Mayor how many drivers had been prosecuted.
After three two-hour shifts in Camden at the end of last year, eight driving offences were reported. In addition this, four drivers were spoken to about passing cyclists closer than the safe distance of 1.5 metres, and more than 50 other road users were stopped and educated by officers about their driving standards.
Berry said she would also be calling for an increase in the number of Metropolitan Police officers tackling road crime.
“In just six hours, dozens of people have learned a valuable lesson from this small team of officers in Camden. Close passes are highly dangerous and terrifying for people on bikes. More drivers have to learn they should not overtake until they can leave a safe distance between us and their vehicle.
“Officers in Camden have led the way with this pilot and the Mayor should make sure all boroughs are able to have dedicated teams of police for this work.
“I am very disappointed that the number of officers doing road crime work has been static despite danger for vulnerable people on the streets increasing in recent years and I’ll also be calling for a boost in these units within the Met in my response to the draft Police and Crime Plan.”