On 27th February, Campaign members Rob Greenland and Martin Stanley met with PC Ian Micklethwaite (West Yorkshire Police) and Becky Murray (Leeds City Council Safer Roads).
We had asked for the meeting so that we could get an update on the Safe Pass scheme that had been piloted last year, and ask whether it would be run again.
First, some info on the pilot that was run last year. This was really a learning process for the officers involved and involved 5 locations. it was noted that the location chosen is important as it needs to feature an area where the offending driver can be pulled over and educated about how to pass cyclists safely.
The good news is that the scheme is going to be rolled out across West Yorkshire from the spring and run until the autumn. Winter is off limits due to risk assessments! The scheme will be run by the local policing teams, which concerns us a little. These teams will have lots of priorities, and there is no saying where the Safe Pass scheme will sit. Our preference would be for dedicated teams, but we will have to wait and see how it works.
We emphasised that social / local media messages are really important. We need to get the message out to drivers that any cyclist they pass could be a police officer.
We also asked about online submission of camera footage showing close passes and other offences. We were assured that this is still being worked on. However, it seems to be taking a very long time (we were told similar at least 3 years ago) so an email to the Police and Crime Comissionner (firstname.lastname@example.org) asking where it is may not go amiss!
Some good news regarding camera footage though. Police officers are using cameras on their cycle commutes and dealing with offenders by means of a letter. We would obviously like some stricter enforcement, but this is a start.
So, the take home message is that we are not at the level of West Midlands Police, but we have the beginnings of a good scheme. We will be meeting again in a couple of months so will be able to give further updates then.