TODAY |

Traffic incidents rise - but number of road police drops

With more cars on the road, police officers are busier than ever attending incidents - and the number of incidents attended just jumped by 50,000 in one year.

There were 4500 more emergency call-outs, which Assistant Police Commissioner Dave Cliff says is an umbrella term used for a huge range of situations.

"The emergency end of the spectrum can be things like road crashes, blockages and breakdowns, things like, for example, stock on a country road at night."

The road toll is also on the rise - so far this year 263 people have died in road accidents - 10 more than this time last year.

Police say the rise in deaths could be down to fewer people choosing to wear a seatbelt.

"Typically about 60 people a year die who aren't wearing a safety belt but this year we have seen over 70 killed already and in the past 12 months nearly 100 - so a big increase," Mr Cliff said.

However, while the need for road police is growing, the number is dropping with more than 100 cut from the police ranks this year.

"Because of the funding envelope there has to be a reduction in the number of staff carrying out road policing," Mr Cliff said.

Dog and Lemon car guide editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says this policy to cut the number of road policing just doesn't check out.

"There needs to be a high police presence on our roads not necessarily so they start chalking up tickets but simply by being there they tend to dampen down reckless behaviour," he said.

With more cars and drivers on the road, cops are busier than ever attending everything from roadside rescues to fender benders. Source: 1 NEWS