AMPOW - SPEED AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

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Against the Misuse of Police Waivers

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Profits and Where They Go

Since 2010 there has been a sustained and dramatic increase in the use of Speed Awareness Courses (SACs) - source NDORS (the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme): https://www.ndors.org.uk/scheme/trends-statistics/  . That is from about 450,000 to over 1.2 million attending each year which generates an income in excess of £55 million per annum to the police alone. None of which would have been available directly to the Police in the event of FPNs being issued or prosecutions pursued.


The police receive a flat fee of £45 (increased from £35 in October 2017) out of the fee charged to "offenders" by course operators which typically range from £80 upwards and can be as much as £200. Whilst some of the £45 fee is attributable to the expenses directly associated with the issuance of an invitation to attend such a course and administration thereafter, it is undoubtedly the case that a significant surplus is generated.


In addition some police forces seem to be receiving an additional “levy” from the speed awareness course providers - see The Evidence on a later page on that.


From April 2016, the NDORS scheme has been run by UK ROED Ltd, a private not-for-profit company, which is operating the scheme "on behalf of the UK Police Forces". UK ROED receives around £5 from each course fee paid from the course operators to fund their activities. UK ROED Ltd is owned by a charity named Road Safety Trust which is also registered as a company. The charity is chaired by Anthony Bangham, the Chief Constable of West Mercia Police (he took over from Suzette Davenport, the former Chief Constable of Gloucester Police,  in 2017 - she is still one of the directors of UK ROED Ltd). None of these organisations is regulated or controlled by the Government. Anthony Bangham gained a lot of publicity in January 2018 for advocating zero tolerance of speeding without mentioning the obvious conflict of interest in that he chaired an organisation that would financially benefit from more speeding offences being recorded and more offenders diverted to education courses.  


Previously the NDORS scheme was operated by NDORS Ltd, another private company. The last full year accounts filed with Companies House were for the period ending March 2014 and showed revenue of £44 million with profits of £2.5 million. For the final period ending in September 2015 it reported a loss but that was after a very large “cost of sales” figure and the accounts report £5.8 million as being paid Road Safety Support Ltd (RSS) a private company with the same directors and under common control of NDORS Ltd.


One of the directors was Meredydd Hughes, a retired Chief Constable, who is also a director of RSS which supports traffic prosecutions and provides training. He has the distinction of being banned for speeding in 2007 for doing 90 mph in a 60 speed limit zone. Other directors were Thomas Howes and Trevor Hall, also directors of RSS, who are also former police officers. Former police officers are also commonly employed by or are directors/owners of the course operators.


At the time of writing there are 24 accredited course operators. That includes three private sector organisations (including AA DriveTech and TTC Group), five police forces (including Lancashire, Merseyside, Humberside, Cheshire and Northamptonshire and 15 local authorities. All of them can generate very substantial profits above the costs incurred in providing the courses. For example, Hertfordshire County Council generated a surplus of £947,000 in 2015/2016 by delivering 1,891 courses attended by 41,641 drivers giving income of £3.7 million (source: Local Transport Today - more information is available on the AMPOW speed-awareness campaign blog). The police and local authorities may well spend some of the surplus from running courses on road safety measures (there is no legal obligation to do so) but private sector operators can simply lose the profits in high salaries and directors fees. For example in October 2015 the Sun Newspaper ran an article that suggested the directors of AA Drivetech received £5.5 million in directors fees in 2013.


One disturbing aspect is that although the police do not set speed limits they do advise on those matters. Local authorities control speed limits and are advised by the police so the police may well have a financial incentive to encourage lower limits and the introduction of more cameras so as to increase the demand for speed awareness courses and hence the profits they receive.


We may provide more information on the operations and profits of course operators at a later date but it is already clear that they make large profits which they pay out in salaries or dividends to the owners of the companies.


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