The Department for Transport (DfT) will be forced to pay police to enforce traffic laws on sections of the motorway network.
The DfT has confirmed that it will have to meet the cost of additional policing needed for new managed motorways – motorways with hard shoulder running, tolled lanes and high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.
During a recent pilot scheme on the M42, when the hard shoulder was opened to traffic at peak times, the DfT had to negotiate a £77,000 “enforcement agreement” with West Midlands Police.
Now the department is in negotiations over how much it will have to pay the police to enforce the law on the extension of the managed motorway scheme near Birmingham.
A DfT spokesman said he could not confirm how much of the DfT’s budget would be spent paying the police.
However, with plans for managed motorways to be established on stretches of the M1, M6, M62, M27, M4, M5 and radial routes around the M25 by 2014, a substantial amount of the DfT’s budget will eventually be diverted to pay the police.
This departure from accepted protocol is the result of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) digging in its heels and saying its forces would not release any extra funds to police the new motorway systems.
“ACPO was clear that any additional enforcement requirement should be cost-neutral to the police,” said a DfT spokesman. “The police have different priorities and so we will have to pay.”
The DfT will also have to pay for a planned network of average speed cameras.