County councillor calls for more traffic police on Harrogate's roads

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A North Yorkshire County Councillor has called for more visible traffic police on Harrogate’s roads in a bid to reduce road casualties.

The Annual Road Casual Report revealed that five people had been killed in 2015 on Harrogate district’s roads compared to seven in 2014.

However, there were 116 people who were killed or seriously injured in 2015, an increase from 108 from last year with casualties also increasing from 604 to 658.

Coun David Simister (UKIP, Bilton and Nidd Gorge) said that he welcomed the fall in fatalities but called for a greater presence of traffic police on Harrogate’s roads.

During a Harrogate Area Committee meeting on Thursday, November 17, Coun Simister said: “Where are our traffic police? Where do the public see traffic officers?

“Where do they see police actually out stopping motorists? Very rarely. And another menace apart from speeding is mobile phones.

“The only way they are going to tackle it is by having visible police. Speed cameras cannot detect anybody on their mobile phone, they can’t detect them drink and drug driving. The message from the county council to Julia Mulligan is we want to see more police patrolling the roads.”

Chairman of the committee, Coun Michael Harrison (Cons, Lower Nidderdale and Bishop Monkton) revealed that many villages across the district had requested speed matrixes to reduce collisions.

However, even if they want to fund one themselves, he said that the residents are often told they are unable to receive one if they cannot establish a need for it.

Coun Don Mackenzie, cabinet member for Highways, explained that too many matrixes across the district would only exacerbate the problem of speeding.

He said: “If we gave permission for every parish to buy, maybe even by charging their residents, a speed matrix flashing sign, then we would have so many of them that we fear the effectiveness of them would begin to reduce.

“People will drive through them and think ‘yet another sign’. We want to manage that or it will become commonplace and lose its deterrent factor.”