Call for road tsar to cut high number of accidents
Police in Northern Ireland were today told to establish a road tsar to cut the "unacceptable" high number of people killed or seriously injured on the province's roads.
An inspection report, jointly published by Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, has revealed that when direct comparisons are made there are more people killed or seriously injured on Northern Ireland roads than in England, Scotland and Wales.
It also shows that more people died on the roads between 1969 and 2001 than were killed during the Troubles.
"Death and serious injury on the roads of Northern Ireland is a major problem.
"Between 1969 and 2001, 7,291 people died on the roads compared with 3,331 who lost their lives during the same period as a result of the Troubles," said Brendan McGuigan, Deputy Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.
The report recommends that the PSNI reorganises its roads policing function so that one Assistant Chief Constable has sole responsibility for this area instead of being shared between four ACCs.
It is believed that placing ownership for roads policing with one senior officer will provide clearer lines of accountability and leadership and give it a higher internal profile within the police service.
Inspectors have also raised concern about the current arrangements for investigating fatal and serious road traffic collisions, describing them as " weak".
Ken Williams, Inspector with Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, said: " Inspectors found the standard of investigation and quality of evidence being presented to the PPS for criminal prosecutions and to the coroner for inquest adjudications was poorer than that found in England and Wales."