Exeter City Futures launches national competition to help police tackle gridlock caused by road collisionsPublished: 8th April 2019

The Police and Crime Commissioners for Devon and Cornwall and for Dorset, have been working with the Alliance Roads Policing Team to launch a nationwide competition to find innovative solutions to reduce the amount of time needed to record evidence at road traffic collision sites.

The goal is to find a technical solution which reduces evidential capture time by 50%. The competition, launched in collaboration with Exeter City Futures, offers a potential contract of up to £200,000 for the winning solution.

In 2017 1,226 people were killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. When these collisions take place they must be thoroughly investigated and the consequent road closures put a significant strain on the region’s 17,015-mile road network and infrastructure.

Prolonged road closures affect residents, visitors and businesses across the area. It’s estimated that for every hour a road network is closed there is an economic loss of £1m. Every time a fatal collision occurs there is a cost of £2.6m to the public sector.

The competition invites organisations from across the UK to bid for the opportunity to work with the Alliance Roads Policing Team and Exeter City Futures to develop an innovative solution to a problem that effects all Police Forces across England and Wales.

Once deployed and successfully operating within the initial city pilot, solutions have the potential to scale-up and deploy in other cities and towns across the UK and beyond.

Head of Roads Policing Alliance, Chief Inspector Adrian Leisk, said:

 “If there is a fatality or serious injury resulting from a road collision we have a duty to investigate for the coroner and courts, and we have a duty to relatives and the future to find out why the collision happened.

“The police are of course very mindful that if we keep roads closed in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, counties which are very reliant on the road network, it can have a massive knock-on effect to the communities and economy. Alliance roads policing is very keen to see what innovative solutions can be found to shorten these closure times.”

Liz O’Driscoll, Programme Director, Exeter City Futures commented:
“Exeter City Futures are delighted to collaborate with the Alliance Road Policing Team and support their work in finding new ways to reduce the time it takes to gather evidence at road collisions. Our Everyone’s Exeter campaign has just launched in the city and we are excited to start with such an important solution not just for our city, but one which will eventually help all the cities and towns across the UK.”

The competition, which has been launched in collaboration with Exeter City Futures as part of its Everyone’s Exeter campaign aims to address local road infrastructure, particularly in Devon, but also Cornwall and Dorset, and the potential of scaling up nationwide.

The businesses selected to be part of the competition will complete a 12-week engagement programme with Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police. This will include face-to-face meetings, workshops and in-field testing with forensic collision investigators across Devon, Cornwall and Dorset to help teams develop, test and refine their solution to the challenge.

Details of how to apply for the competition can be found here.

You can find out more about the work of the Alliance serious collisions investigation team here.