Cuts Watch #384: Cuts in Lollipop patrols
Last Sunday that Observer reported that councils across England, Wales and Scotland are preparing to bring their axe down lollipop patrol services. Yesterday, Dorset County Council announced it will continue with its consultation on proposals to make 500 public sector job cuts – among them every one of the 85 men and women who make up the county’s school crossing patrols.
The result will be more fatalities on our roads
claims road safety campaigner Julie Townsend of the charity Brake. She has stated that:
We are extremely concerned. Cutting a lot of school crossing patrols is a terrible blow. Historically they were a cheaper option than making engineering changes to roads to make them safer, but with the widespread withdrawal of road safety measures as a result of funding cuts then we are simply risking the safety of walkers and cyclists, particularly children.”
Local authorities – including Lambeth, Fife, Glamorgan, Bromley and Hounslow, where posts are under threat, and Northamptonshire where councillors want schools to pick up the responsibility – point out that it is not a statutory service. Stockport council is cutting its school patrol budget by a third and in Lowestoft, lollipop men and women demonstrated earlier this month against Suffolk council’s proposal to abolish its school lollipop crossing service, with the loss of 62 jobs, to save £174,000 a year.
Not only can drivers not be relied upon to see or stop for children, research by Royal Holloway, University of London shows that children are unable to accurately see or judge the speed of vehicles travelling at more than 20mph. The study found children aged six to 11 suffered from “speed illusion”. Above 20mph, they couldn’t make a reliable guess at a car’s speed, unlike adults who could accurately judge speeds of up to 50mph.