My report published today shows a 60 per cent increase in hit and run crashes since 2009, with nearly 5,000 Londoners victims of these incidents last year.
My predecessor on the London Assembly, Green Peer Jenny Jones, has warned about hit and runs for many years so I asked the Mayor for the latest data, which showed 4,945 people were injured by hit and run drivers in 2015 in the capital. Of those collisions 11 people died, 287 had serious injuries and 4,647 were left with slight injuries.
Hit and runs now make up one in five of all collisions in London. The figures have now risen every year since 2009 both in number terms and as a percentage of total collisions.
I also asked the Mayor about prosecutions of hit and run drivers. He responded by saying “due to limitations within the current systems utilised by the MPS, it is not possible to report specifically the number of these cases that were subject to prosecution action”.
I don’t think this is good enough. With drivers failing to stop after a shocking one in five crashes, this is a real epidemic that needs real action from the police to tackle it.
Londoners are being killed and injured and yet we don’t even know whether hit and run drivers are being brought to justice. We need to know how effective the police currently are in dealing with these crimes, and to be able to prioritise work to tackle it.
Hit and runs are associated with other illegal activities such as drunk driving, speeding, being disqualified or simply having no insurance. The Mayor needs to ensure that the police enforce the rules of the road and people need to believe that if they run away from a crash they will face consequences.
I am very disappointed that the Metropolitan Police Service is still not able to provide data on the rate of prosecution of hit and run drivers. The Mayor has admitted current systems aren’t adequate to track prosecutions and with a new Police and Crime Plan being drafted, replacing unfit systems must be a priority.