MPs FEAR cuts to traffic police could prevent the scourge of dangerous driving being forced from the city’s roads.

In West Yorkshire, the number of dedicated traffic police officers has been slashed from 218 in 2012, to 133 in 2017 – a drop of almost 40 per cent.

Bradford MPs have slammed the fall in numbers and have called on the Government to listen to concerns and properly invest in the police force.

But Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said around 500 extra police officers would be recruited, confirmed the protection of PCSO numbers and said West Yorkshire Police was one of the best-placed to tackle criminals on the roads.

The Press Association submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to all 45 territorial forces asking how many dedicated traffic officers they have compared with five and 10 years ago.

The results reveal that nationally cuts have accelerated in the past five years with numbers falling 24 per cent since 2012, while overall the number is down 30 per cent since 2007.

In 2007 there were 3,766 traffic officers in the forces which responded. In 2012 that figure stood at 3,472. By 2017 it had dropped to 2,643.

A number of forces increased the number of traffic officers between 2007 and 2012, but as budget cuts bit these numbers were reduced between 2012 and 2017.

Experts have questioned how new laws, such as the ban on using mobile phones while driving, can be enforced with 30 per cent fewer officers dedicated to policing roads.

In 2015, the Telegraph & Argus launched its Stop the Danger Drivers campaign to call for more action from authorities to bring dangerous driving under control.

The campaign inspired Operation Steerside, a police crackdown on the problems blighting Bradford’s roads.

Judith Cummins, Labour MP for Bradford South, said: “This is yet another consequence of the enormous cuts that West Yorkshire Police has suffered over the last seven years.

“Losing 85 dedicated road traffic officers in five years seriously impedes their ability to keep our roads safe and tackle the scourge of dangerous drivers.

“The Government needs to take dangerous driving seriously and it needs to give the police the resources they need to keep us safe. These are both issues that I have repeatedly raised with ministers in Parliament.”

Labour’s Bradford East MP Imran Hussain added: “This fall in the number of dedicated road traffic officers is very concerning and raises questions over how effectively the police will be able to enforce the law on the roads in Bradford, but it comes as little surprise following Government cuts which have seen West Yorkshire Police’s budget cut by £140 million since 2010, and which have forced a substantial reduction in officers across the region.

“Fewer officers will also have a knock-on effect on the campaign to tackle dangerous driving, as one of the key tools employed to tackle the problem is having sufficient police units on the road, and the Government must listen to these concerns, echoed by police forces up and down the country, and properly invest in our police service to keep officers back on the beat.”

Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, called for more traffic police and said Bradford was in need of more funding, not less.

Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, said the cuts were “bad news” for Bradford, where there were “countless examples of terrible driving causing death or injury”.

He added that he had always voted against cuts to police budgets, but it was also a matter of where West Yorkshire Police chose to deploy officers.

John Grogan, Keighley’s Labour MP, said he hoped the next year would see a replenishment in the numbers of dedicated traffic police officers.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said cuts meant the force had to reorganise its structure in 2014, which meant a move from specialist teams, such as policing, firearms and dogs, to having mixed speciality units in the Safer Roads and Neighbourhood Support teams (SRANS).

The spokesman added the force was in the process of recruiting more officers and an investment of more than £2m in Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology had led to the arrest of more than 1,000 offenders on the roads in 2016.

Mr Burns-Williamson said road safety not only relied on enforcement, but also education and issues including managed zones and road layouts. He said investment in ANPR technology had achieved “impressive outcomes and convictions, making West Yorkshire Police one of the best placed to target criminals on our roads”.

Craig Grandison, vice-chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said the fall in numbers was concerning and that dedicated road policing officers were still the most effective way of enforcing legislation.