Essex: A12 traffic patrol to be scrapped

A TRAFFIC patrol which was set up to reduce congestion and accidents on one of the county’s busiest roads is to be scrapped.

Essex County Council is cutting the majority of its funding for the A12 Alliance at the end of March.

The UK’s first local authority-funded road patrols were launched in September 2009 with �1.25million following a recommendation from Essex County Council’s A12 Inquiry.

In the first calendar year that the patrols were in operation the number of people killed or seriously injured on the A12 reduced by over 14% and journey times were improved.

Chief Inspector of Roads Policing at Essex Police, Richard Philibrown, said: “I would like to thank the officers of the A12 Patrol who have worked diligently to service the needs of road users in Essex.

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“The patrol has delivered an excellent public service based on a sound partnership between Essex County Council, Essex Police Authority and Essex Police, and has been strongly supported by the public and business.

“Learning from the experiences of the past seventeen months, Essex Police will now integrate A12 work with mainstream roads policing to reduce congestion and enhance public safety on this key route through our county.”

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The council has pledged �100,000 so that the police-operated patrols can continue at peak times on Monday to Friday when the initial 18-month funding period closes at the end of March.

Regional organiser of the Essex Federation of Small Businesses, Keith Brown, said: “While this is clearly not as good as having the full cover throughout each working day it means that the main rush hour periods will be covered and if the last 18 months’ standard continues it means many hours of saved time for the county’s business travellers which means thousands of pounds saved for local businesses.”

Cllr Norman Hume, who is responsible for highways and transportation said: “I am delighted that despite the challenging financial situation we are able to continue funding the A12 patrols at peak times.

“I think everyone would agree that the patrols have been a great success, helping to reduce journey times and deal with around 4,000 incidents.

“The A12 is one of our region’s most vital routes, and given the positive impact that the patrols have had so far, it was important for us to ensure that they could continue to reduce congestion and assist with collisions at the busiest times.”

Essex Police will continue to police the A12 as it does with all other parts of the Essex road network, responding to emergency calls, road traffic collisions and other incidents.

Essex County Council and Essex Police are currently finalising exact details on how the patrols will operate from April 2011.

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