Highways England is updating its ‘recruitment and selection process’ ministers have revealed after a recent fall in traffic officer numbers was raised in parliament.
In a written question to the transport secretary, Bridget Phillipson, Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, asked the transport secretary about declining traffic officer numbers.
The number of Highways England traffic officers has fallen by 51 or 3.5% since 2015 – dropping from 1446 to 1439 in 2016 and 1395 this year.
Ms Phillipson asked what steps his department is taking to maintain the number of specialist road traffic officers.
Transport minister Jesse Norman revealed: ‘The current total staff retention rate at Highways England is 92%, but they are not complacent. Their recruitment and selection process is being improved to include assessments that better reflect the role applicants would undertake as traffic officers to ensure it continues to keep and maintain sufficient staff numbers.’
Highways England traffic officers patrol England’s motorways, helping to keep traffic flowing smoothly. Under the Traffic Management Act 2004, they have the power to stop and direct traffic and close lanes and carriageways.
They help to manage incidents by:
– coordinating the resources of the emergency services
– managing traffic to reduce incident related congestion
– clearing debris from the carriageways
– re-opening routes as soon as it is safe to do so
– supporting the police