PCC comments on Part Night Lighting research study
I welcome the report in the Journal of Epidemiology and Clinical Health. The impact of Part Night Lighting (PNL) on road safety and on crime is an important topic which is rightly a subject of public interest. I am aware of some real concerns both about crime in PNL areas and about road safety.
The report analyses 14 years of data from 62 local authorities. For the first time it is possible to draw some reliable conclusions from a rigorously conducted analysis of extensive data.
While the report does not claim 100 per cent reliability as a number of local authorities failed to supply data, which may have had an impact on the results, it concludes that there is no evidence that PNL has led to either an increase or a decrease in Road Traffic Collisions. It does draw attention to the important point that as PNL is introduced local authorities have conducted risk assessments to ensure riskier areas of road, for example those close to junctions, remain lit.
The analysis also shows that in general crime actually reduces slightly where PNL has been introduced, though there are one or two anomalies.
The analysis of the data in Essex tends to support these findings though I still consider the sample size of data that we can work with in Essex to be too small to draw firm conclusions. Crime and particularly Anti-Social Behaviour does seem to reduce with the introduction of PNL with few exceptions.
We have also gained a deeper understanding of the road safety risks associated with PNL. In Essex the risks associated with higher speed roads (40mph+) used by pedestrians, particularly those returning from pubs and clubs, have come to the fore following a small number of very serious incidents.
We now for the first time have a reliable study that enables us to say with more confidence that PNL, when properly introduced and based on risk assessment, has no adverse impact on the overall level of RTCs – but understanding those risk factors is crucial and that’s what we are seeking to do here in Essex. The study also tells us that crime may indeed reduce as a result of PNL.
We will continue to monitor the local evidence carefully with the confidence that Essex County Council will respond rapidly to operational requests form Essex Police.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex