To the Birmingham Selly Oak MP,  Steve McCabe.
From Peter Jones MInstP

NB;- The following is only my opinions and these may not be the same as those of the IoP.

Dear Steve,

This is not a public  leak of my suggestions to yourself but it is just the same as you people at Westminster who  are always doing the same thing when it suits you.

I know the following is a bit long for PMQ’s, but there must be some time made to hear some serious arguments about HS2 as it will cost rather a lot of money.

If instead you would rather put this to the Select Committee on Home Affairs as if you change the wording slightly you will have two suggestions for action instead of one.

 However, you should remind the Select Committee that the  Home Secretary  is responsible for the other 40 odd CC’s who are also responsible for this mix up as the rules approved by parliament that were changed some time after the ITAI was set up are enforced by the Engineering Council on behalf of you people at Westminster who are elected by voters who expect you to insist on this  as the use of MITAI as a qualification should have been checked by all CC‘s.

 I doubt that this matter has been overlooked by Lecturers in FE Colleges ( I was once employed by what is now the Hall Green Campus of South Birmingham FE College as a full time Lecturer in mainly Physics and Maths for 7 years. I noted that there were many teaching staff, particularly in the Engineering Department, who will have to had a very careful check made in case any of their initials were no longer legal after the changes referred to above were made by the Engineering Council.

I actually passed the IoP final exam requirements after courses at the City of Birmingham Polytechnic (Now Birmingham City University) whilst a lecturer at Hall Green, working in my own time, as I could attend the Poly in the day as the GCE “A” level and “O” level Maths I taught was in the  session running from 1800 to 2100 hours two evenings per week. 

However, ITAI members should note that as no one on the Senior Staff had any relevant qualifications in Physics  and Maths in the Department of Business Studies and General Education ( I worked in the GCE section) I had to seek the support of a Senior Lecturer in the Building Department ( now I expect this is called the “Construction Department”)  to support me in accordance with the rules of the IoP I was required to show that I  was known by a person who held an IoP qualification similar to the one I was applying for and he had to be in contact with Senior staff in the Dept of BS and GE who could report on my professional competence.

In case you are concerned that I should think all the Police should be university graduates in the future, you are very wrong because I like yourself think that the existing set up is working very well as it is ; we have every confidence in the Police who are doing a great job keeping us relatively safe from suicide bombers and ASB. I have heard nothing from Bob Jones to indicate that he is not of the same opinion as ourselves, but we are of course concerned about the serious lack of graduate level police officers where it is so clearly lacking at present to cause concern over a much wider areas than investigating road accidents. There have been serious police scandals in the past where serious criminals are better qualified than the police; those supervising IT know nothing about IT and how to programme computers to do what they are told,  and serious fraud has now spread to such an extent that it has almost caused the entire world financial system to wobble very badly, and it has to have taken an intervention by the current Archbishop of Canterbury (C of E )  and the Archbishop of Westminster ( RC)  to try and give us all a moral compass again.




Does the Prime Minister know that some very fast trains once ran on Ex Victorian steam railways at around the same speeds as HS1
in 1925, so surely in the future we should be able to use the previous Victorian railways at about 100mph for freight on rail to take some of that displaced by the HGV’s with potentially dangerous trailers revealed by a retired Head of Science in a Comprehensive school  (Birmingham Selly Oak Constituency) in his 2005 report to the international conference of the Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators, but this must have been vetoed by the senior police as nearly all ITAI members are police officers. It should be noted that even the West Midlands PCC’s car was once struck by a snaking HGV trailer, but the constituency voter   (the previously mentioned  Head of Science)  residing in  the Birmingham Selly Oak area was  also told by Bob Jones that he was very shaken at the time but was assured  that snaking was not allowed on the railways as most people will have noted that all trains run on rails. 

The Prime Minister should know also that this ITAI report from the  retired Head of Science who in 2005 was an “Associate of the ITAI” ( the training grade for all police transferring to serious road traffic accident investigations) has been on the Internet since 2007 and has now been viewed by around 7000 readers, whilst the ITAI conference would have had only about 1000 attending.

Further more the same retired Head of Science in a Comprehensive school has recently been consulting with Bob Jones the West Midlands Police and  Crime Commissioner, regarding the potentially illegal designatory initials ( MITAI) that some of the Police Accident Investigators place after their  names, so that the police road traffic accident investigators may not be qualified to investigate any thing at all.

I hope the Prime Minister’s revisions to the HS2 plan take account of this, or we on this side of the House may even reconsider having him as a supporter.



The last time I downloaded
this on to my web site the photo’s of some streamlined steam locomotives did not appear. These not only include the “City of Birmingham” which had its streamlining removed as it was last used  for towing mixed loads of freight wagons and passenger coaches which as is shown in the 1962 photo gave rise to trains of enormous lengths.

With friends from the Wolverhampton Municipal Grammar school who lived on the North side of the town  we all pedalled our cycles to Stafford in around 1944 to see these magnificent steam engines roar past the station on the special twin tracks between the rails for the slower trains waiting for the express to pass.  The Trent Valley line avoided Wolverhampton and Birmingham as there were some bends too sharp for these extra long locomotives to negotiate. A similar thing happened at Wolverhampton where the  “King” class locomotives of the GWR , almost as big as LMS loco’s going up the Trent Valley, had to be changed to “Castle” class loco’s which then towed the train to Birkenhead via Chester.

The King Class loco’s then had to be taken to the steam powered enormous turntable  to be turned round as unlike the modern trains they could only tow trains at high speed in one direction only. They would then pull the next express on to London, Paddington. We used to view this turning event about one mile from town on our way home from school along the main Stafford to Wolverhampton Road where the main GWR line still crosses over the main road.



Victorian Steam Locos’s
Preserved British steam locomotive of the former London, Midland and Scottish (LMS) Railway, Princess Coronation Class No. 6229 Duchess of Hamilton, June 6, 2009. The locomotive was built as a streamliner in 1938, and was exported to the United States (painted as Class sister No. 6220) for a 3,000 mile tour and visit to the 1939 New York World’s Fair, before returning in 1942. The streamlining was removed in 1947 for ease of maintenance. She was re-streamlined in 2009 and displayed at the National Railway Museum in York. (side view)




In the United Kingdom development of streamlined passenger services began in 1934 with the Great Western Railway introducing relatively low speed streamlined railcars and the London and North Eastern Railway introducing the “Silver Jubilee” service using streamlined A4 class steam locomotives and full length trains rather than railcars. In 1938 on a test run the locomotive Mallard built for this service broke the record for the fastest steam locomotive reaching 126 mph (203 km/h). The London Midland and Scottish Railway introduced streamline locomotives of the Princess Coronation Class shortly before the outbreak of war.
LMS Princess Coronation Class 6235 City of Birmingham
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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46235 City of Birmingham on the West Coast Main Line in 1962

46235 City of Birmingham as preserved
London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS), Princess Coronation Class, LMS No. 6235, British Railways No. 46235 City of Birmingham is a preserved British steam locomotive.
6235 was originally built in 1939 at
British steam locomotive.
6235 was originally built in 1939 at Crewe, and entered LMS stock in July 1939, one of the third batch (Lot No. 150). As built she was streamlined and was the first to be fitted with a double chimney as built (previous locomotives being built with single chimneys and later modified). Livery was LMS crimson lake with cheat lines, but during the Second World War it acquired austere unlined black livery. Though it carried the name City of Birmingham from new, 6235 was officially named at a ceremony at Birmingham New Street on 20 March 1945, and a special coat of arms plate was then fitted above the nameplate. The streamlining was removed for maintenance reasons in April 1946, becoming the first streamliner to be destreamlined, and at the same time she was fitted with smoke deflectors, and livery continued to be black.


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Peter W Jones MInstP

Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion  1686

In my opinion the above shows  that if a trailer has no brakes you can not expect it to stop in all circumstances. It therefore also follows that legislators in the EU/UK have ignored a Law of Physics in allowing trailers up to 0.75 tonnes in weight not to have brakes ( providing also that the tow vehicle weighs at least 0.375 tonnes.)

It is illogical to require all car occupants to wear seat belts, but allow some trailers not to have brakes.

Drivers should beware that this means when a tow vehicle brakes at over about 40mph (in my opinion) these trailers will either jack knife, or even break free, and either crash in to the rear of the tow vehicle or even pass over the top if the tow vehicle ( as my daughter found out) is a low aspect car and the trailer not very large.

It also follows that when the trailer brakes do not work the same thing will take place.

This happened to Helen, the second daughter of myself and my wife, when some years ago the small brand new caravan Helen was towing failed to stop snaking even though it was equipped with a brand new ALKO stabiliser when she pulled on to the grass verge of the express road near  Newbury.

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Peter W Jones MInstP

November 2012

Question from Peter Jones to the Leader of the Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore.

Thank you Lord Mayor. In about 2010 Steve McCabe MP received a most unsatisfactory reply from Birmingham Trading Standards concerning caravan brakes and stabilisers.

(1) In the interest of Road Safety will the Leader now insist that suitable information [see(2) below] about caravan brakes and stabilisers is prominently displayed at Birmingham retail outlets near where the individual caravans and shelf items are displayed for sale.

(2) Part of Rule 98 of the Highway Code as stated in 2007, should be displayed, along with the relevant results of Bath University on caravan stabilisers from the 1994 Fratilla Phd thesis and from the 2003 MEng Project Report from CJ Killer.



“Thank you Lord Mayor and can I thank Peter Jones for his question. Within the Council, Lord Mayor, Trading Standards is responsible for enforcing regulations around product safety and consequently I will ask Trading Standards to look at the proposal that Mr Jones has put in front of us today and work in partnership with the relevant businesses to raise awareness of the requirements which he’s referred to. I will ask Jackie Kennedy, who is the Director of Regulation and Enforcement, to ensure that this happens.”


Rule 98 of the 2007 Highway Code, which is for Drivers of Vehicles towing a trailer, has a hidden meaning. This is “Do not apply the  brakes if the trailer is snaking.”

Rule 98 actually states, “(take care to load the trailer correctly). This should avoid the possibility of swerving or snaking and going out of control.  If this does happen, ease of the accelerator and reduce speed gently to regain control. ”

Clearly there is an urgent need to modify the brake actuating mechanisms of all trailers so that the latter can be braked safely when snaking happens.

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Birmingham City Council Meeting 16.10.12

Peter W Jones  MInstP


The minutes of the meeting of 3.7.12 were signed by the Lord Mayor.


Section A:    Questions from Members of the Public to any Cabinet Member or District Committee Chairman.




3)  Peter Jones to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Sir Albert Bore. “Thank you Lord Mayor. In view of the recent question asked in Parliament by Steve McCabe MP concerning the possibility that serious road traffic accidents should in future be assessed or overseen by a Chartered Engineer, and the reply from Nick Herbert MP, Policing Minister, that this was an operational  matter at the discretion of the Chief Constable, will the Council urge their representatives on the West Midlands Police Authority to press the Chief Constable for an explanation of why he has never exercised this discretion in the past and seek an assurance that steps are being taken to engage a Chartered Engineer consultant who could possibly be shared with other Police Authorities?  Some time ago under the Freedom of Information Act, West Midlands Police informed me that they had never employed a Chartered Engineer in the past. In late 2011, I published a detailed account on the internet concerning my view that the Police City & Guilds Forensic Collision qualification was only City and Guilds level 2 (GCSE equivalent) and this must be raised to at least City and Guilds level 3. In 2009 the Health and Safety Executive reported to the House of Commons Select Committee on Transport that most  work-related fatalities were not being investigated as they took place on the roads.  This matter is applicable to all UK Police Forces, but as in many other matters I hope West Midlands Police will give a lead in rectifying the problem.”

Councillor Sir Albert Bore in reply

“Thank you Lord Mayor and thank you Peter. Yes I will ask Councillor Yvonne Mosquito, one of the the City Council’s representatives on the West Midlands Police Authority, to ask why the Authority has not provided an explanation as to why serious road traffic accidents should not be assessed by a chartered engineer engaged by the Police Authority. Peter, I also accept that the Police need to give you some assurances that police officers investigating serious road accidents have appropriate qualifications and I will ask Councillor Yvonne Mosquito to follow this one up also. Thank you for the question.”




Edit 30/10/12

Bath University research on trailers.

Institutions teaching Physics and Maths to 14 to 19 year old students, who tow trailers with a mini bus, will find the above University research applicable to
road safety and also to several items in the syllabus for GCSE and GCE “A” level.

See my blogs for Physics/Maths teachers at       and  

See the last item in my blog for my comments on the DfT caravan brake regulations.



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West Midlands Police Authority

Peter W Jones MInstP

The opinions expressed in these blogs are mine and these are not necessarily the same as those of the Institute of Physics. 


As the WM police do not employ Chartered Engineers (or persons of a similar status) they can not possibly be investigating the aerodynamic and other engineering aspects of road traffic accidents. A typical example of the consequences of this police failure can be seen by viewing  Daily Mail photographs published on the internet. To see these pictures put “Two women killed in head-on crash after lorry careers across six lanes of traffic” in to the Google search engine. 

 EDIT  7.02.12


My first publication in Hansard was in 2006. This can still be found by inserting “Caravan and HGV Trailer Snaking Accidents” in to Google. The HoC item will be about number 4 on the first page of results which are all my blogs or about other items I have written.


EDIT  2/1/12



Edit 17/02/12

The police have a virtual monopoly when it comes to the investigation of road traffic accidents, and it can be seen from my Twitter site that I have been pressing for a revision of their training since November 5th 2009. WordPress seems to have a problem with copying tweets so readers will have to put  “Peter Jones MInstP on Twitter” in to google to read my tweets.









(Biii)  RAC Foundation

(Biv)  DfT Statistics

(Bv)   The Selby Rail Disaster







A few impressions of a meeting of the West Midlands Police Authority called to

complete their investigation of the recent Birmingham Riots


I attended the above meeting as an observer to find out who controlled the WMPA. I was under the impression that Police Authorities in their present form originated after WW2 with one of the main aims being to ensure that if a “Hitler” was democratically elected in the UK he/she would find it very difficult to control the police as so many independent authorities were created. It was arranged that democratically elected councillors would always be in a majority on the police authorities.

I found that what Parliament had put into law was being enacted in Birmingham.



There were around 100 members of the public present as observers.

The Chief Constable took a considerable length of time to deliver his report.

The Authority members then made their comments after the Chair had made his.

Although the observers were not permitted to speak several sitting close to myself shouted out that they could not hear the speakers. ( I could hear the CC, but not all the members). The CC was supplied with water, but what was clearly needed were microphones, amplifiers and loud speakers.

I can only comment on what I could hear; and not all authority members’ names were clearly visible to the public.

A member alleged that a Birmingham MP had claimed that many police had been seen standing by taking no action whilst rioters were doing a great deal of looting and damage. The CC replied that every attempt had been made to set up a meeting with this MP but it had not proved possible to do this. I think it was the same authority member who suggested that the CC could have attended the MP’s normal surgery, but laughter indicated that this was not meant to be taken seriously.

I thought I had heard most of the CC’s report but I did not hear him say that Police were instructed not to intervene in a riot unless they were present in sufficient numbers and equipped with riot gear. This may have been said at the previous meeting.

Cllr Yvonne Mosquito of Birmingham was particularly critical as she thought this issue was being “personalised.”

The above is typical of what took about an hour to consider. The Chair then presented the authority members with resolutions calling for the chair and the CC to stand down. Cllr Bob Jones of Wolverhampton made a speech in support of the chair and the latter spoke strongly in favour of the CC. ( the chair, Cllr Jones and Cllr Mosquito were seated fairly close to myself).The authority members unanimously rejected the resolutions without further debate. Clearly the members felt that certain things needed improving, but overall they had confidence in the CC and the chair, but they could have caused both to resign indicating the power held by the police authority.

A considerable time was then spent discussing claims for damages from various people who suffered during the riots. This matter is still being processed.




I hope that the WMPA will study the evidence I have sent them (see much further on in this blog) showing that a number of influential bodies consider that UK road traffic accident investigation is very inadequate.   I hope the WMPA will agree that WMP must follow the Air, Rail and Marine Industries and publish all their road traffic accident reports, preferably on the internet.

Peter W Jones MInstP 



Page 1



Peter W Jones


The West Midlands Police Authority have informed me under “the Freedom of Information Act” that it would be “against the public interest” to let me have a sample of Police Road Traffic Accident Investigators’ (RTAI’s) reports on accidents involving trailers (HGV, Caravans and small trailers).

Similarly (under the foi act) Devon and Cornwall Police have told me that it is the established custom to keep the above reports confidential to families involved and the insurance companies.

I am sure that many people are aware of the fact that Air, Marine and Rail accident reports are already available for scrutiny on the internet.

The police accident investigators are seriously under qualified for the job they are being asked to do. Hence the real reason, in my opinion, for ACPO trying to keep accident reports confidential.

The West Midlands Police confirmed to me that they did not employ any suitable person of Chartered Engineer (CEng) status or higher to advise the RTAI’s and are therefore ignoring an “Aim” laid down in the syllabus for the Police City and Guilds (C&G) certificate in Forensic Collision Investigation ( Ref 1) that RTAI’s should be able to recognise the limits of their expertise and know how to seek appropriate help.

I also know this from personal experience as for about 2.5 years starting from 2003 I was an Associate of the Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators (ITAI). (Ref 2) .I was invited to join by members who were concerned about their lack of knowledge in some areas. This would not have happened if the Police had a system for ensuring that the RTAI’s received adequate support. (The ITAI membership is almost 95% police or retired police officers).

An important aspect of this matter was first drawn to my attention in 2009 when Professor Stephen Glaister of Imperial College, London University held a press conference which highlighted ( amongst other items) the Professors’ opinion that the Police normally only investigated the causes of accidents that were attributable to law breaking. In his retirement the professor is now the Director of the charity RAC Foundation and you will see on their web site an extensive analysis of many aspects of road traffic accidents.

In particular I must draw attention to the fact that the professor’s associates at RAC Foundation have shown by Mathematical/Statistical analysis of Police, Hospital and Insurance company records that there is an under reporting by the DfT of serious injuries/fatalities on our roads by a factor of around times three.

Most University Academics devise their of own schemes of work but Leicester Simon de Montford University have had a specially designed syllabus presented

Page 2


to them by the C&G. (Only Police employees can take the relevant C&G exams.)

This is in C&G scheme handbook 3920 on Forensic Collision Investigation and is version 4.0 2007 – 2012.

The item I have already referred to above is under “Aims,” para 2 h and i

Under “Objective 003” we have that the candidates should understand “Conservation of Momentum,” but nothing is stated about applying this to trailers.

As Momentum = mass X velocity RTAI’s should understand that the momentum of a trailer with no brakes (legal in certain circumstances if it weighs no more then 0.75 tonnes) will be much greater at 60mph than 30mph so that in the former case it is highly probable that the trailer will jack knife or rise up and crash into the back of the tow car if heavy braking at 60mph becomes necessary. However, all unbraked trailer towers know that sharp braking at up to about 35mph is usually quite safe. These trailers ( and all caravans and trailers with “over run “ brakes) should have electric brakes which have been available in the USA and elsewhere for over 30 years. The 3920 C&G course also needs to include outline details of the various types of brakes available for use (Electric, Electronic, Hydraulic, Pneumatic and “over run“ operated as with caravans .) Currently Police with only C&G 3920 qualifications will be unable to comment on these matters in their accident reports; this explains why unbraked trailers and “over run” braked trailers are still legal when towed at up to 60mph. “Over run” brakes are only safe to use when the trailer is dead in line with the tow car and not oscillating. When a trailer oscillates a centrifugal force is generated which stops the trailer catching up with the tow car so that the trailer brakes are not applied. If the tow car brakes are operated when the trailer is not in line with the tow car the latter is likely to be destabilised; the greater the weight of the trailer the greater is the probability that the tow car will be caused to spin round and the whole outfit will jack knife. This is even more likely to happen if the trailer weight exceeds that of the towing vehicle.

However, due to an extra paragraph being inserted ( as a result of caravan industry lobbying?) in to the DfT/EU caravan/small trailer brake regulations electric brakes are effectively illegal on UK/EU roads, but the Air Bus 380 jumbo jet is not subject to this legislation so one of its braking systems is electric. (Ref 4)

In about 2002 a group of ITAI members tested a trailer with no brakes and found that with sharp braking at 40mph the trailer jack knifed every time. This was recorded in their Journal but they referred to the matter as “the unbraked trailer syndrome” clearly confirming that they were not aware of the fact that the behaviour can be explained by Newton’s Laws of Motion. All trailers need brakes as much as all car occupants need seat belts ( unless unbraked trailers travel at no more than approximately 35mph.)


Under C&G course 3920 we also have “Objective 005; non skidding wheels.” In section (a) there is a reference to “a vehicle.” A HGV towing a trailer is two vehicles and separate consideration needs to be given to the behaviour of the trailer and I can see

Page 3

nothing to show that the syllabus expects trailers to be considered. This explains the reason for further gaps in police knowledge and accounts in my view at least in part for the large number of HGV accidents as we learn virtually nothing from most of these accidents. The recent accident on the M5 near Taunton is an exception; although at least 4 jack knifed Articulated lorries were involved the police will not increase knowledge about the behaviour of the HGV’s because the heat of the fire will most probably have destroyed any evidence of skid marks.

I think that normally after a HGV trailer jack knifing accident ( assuming that no strong winds had affected the HGV behaviour) the skid marks should show that the tractor’s brakes have come into operation marginally before those of the trailer. With sensitive electronic control of the brakes it should be possible to ensure that the trailer braking is marginally ahead of that of the tractor, thus eliminating, in my opinion, most jack knifing accidents caused by the brakes.



Police C&G cert Section 002 Objective 001. Identify tyre marks.

Again no mention is made of trailers.

Further on under “Plan drawing” item “c’ calls for visibility to be measured, but no item listed involves measuring wind speed which is a critical factor in the stability of all high aspect vehicles, particularly trailers.

The most serious omission from the syllabus is any mention of Aerodynamics. ( Ref 3) If police had an elementary knowledge of the basics much could be learned from most high aspect vehicle accidents. I know that considerable numbers of police tow caravans as a leisure activity and I regularly read in the Caravan Clubs’ magazines about Police who give advice to club members. It is therefore inconceivable that the Police at accident investigator/traffic police level did not know about the Bath University Aerodynamic/Dynamic research on caravans published from 1994 onwards and widely publicised by the Caravan Club. (However, the club’s first major report in 1999 showed a half page picture of the researcher, gave details of his private interests, but wrote not a single word about his scientific results.)

With such a considerable number of police being involved with caravans and trailers ACPO should have known about the Bath research and advised Police Authorities that

a suitably qualified person of at least CEng status was needed to advise RTAI’s of the implications of the Bath results.

Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed that their RTAI’s were also aiming at obtaining the Police C&G Certificate and some had obtained a Licentiate C&G qualification. However, no information is available concerning the content of the Licentiate or C&G Degree level qualifications being obtained by police RTAI’s . I hope that in future the courts will ask for clarification when Police “Expert witnesses” quote the latter two qualifications when they are giving evidence.

Page 4

The C&G have not shown a grade/level for the Police Certificate in Forensic Collision Investigation. On the basis of my considerable experience I would only allocate a grade (based on the police exam counting as two/three subjects) above level one (equivalent to GCSE grades D & E) to police candidates who scored high marks in the exams. Level 2 for C&G is equivalent to GCSE grades A to C. ( NB I have not accidentally missed out the A star grade). It is also significant that neither WM or D&C Police mention the qualifications awarded by the ITAI. I assume that these qualifications are no longer recognised by ACPO and I hope the courts will also take note of this.

I should also draw attention to the fact that ACPO seem to be making decisions which by Act of Parliament are the prerogative of Police Authorities.


The police must publish their accident reports so that they are open to scrutiny as are their counterparts in the air marine and rail industries. RAC Foundation should then eventually be able to establish the true cost to the UK economy of accidents caused by HGV’s.



References above are to my blogs;

Ref 1

ref 2

ref 3

ref 4

My first blogs included     and


(Aiii)   West Midlands Police Authority

Below is a copy of the letter a councillor received from the West Midlands Police Authority. Following this is a copy of the reply I sent to WMPA.

PS.  I now find that the WMPA must have rendered the letter from them impossible to copy. Only my reply is shown below


This approach to the WMPA was not made by myself. Hence the reason for some of the misunderstandings in the reply.

The request was made on my behalf by Cllr Mike Leddy (Birmingham Brandwood Ward); I reside in this ward. Cllr Leddy is also currently Chief Whip for the opposition party on Birmingham City Council. Cllr Leddy is a Councillor and can not be expected to know all the technical details of complicated enquiries, although he can see clearly that a serious flaw in public procedures needs rectifying.

The important part of the reply from WMPA is that they and WM Police still maintain their opposition to the release for public scrutiny of a sample of Police Road Traffic Accident Investigators’ reports on caravans and trailers (including HGV trailers).

However, Devon and Cornwall Police have produced two different reasons for a similar refusal to divulge information.

Reason number one given some months ago was to the effect that it was the established custom to keep information on road traffic accident reports confidential to the Drivers or next of kin of same, plus the insurance companies involved

Reason number two given recently was that my request would have cost more money to comply with than they were allowed to spend on one request. However, my original request was for a sample of Police Accident reports and the Information Office Administrator who replied to my request had suggested that as this would have involved her in “Cherry picking” the items selected I should choose all the relevant accidents for a specific period. I chose 2011. The same Administrator had also pointed out that they would have to edit all the reports to remove sensitive information concerning individuals involved. I had replied to this by pointing out that my professional conduct was now overseen by the Institute of Physics and between 1952 and 1993 had been over seen by the Department for Education of HM Government. As I had a clean record over such a long period it was unreasonable to think that I would act unprofessionally and divulge this information. The reports did not therefore need to be edited. I think therefore that the cost of e mailing the relevant documents to myself has been grossly over estimated and a refusal to divulge the information on cost grounds was flawed.

I had made my original requests some time ago and had complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). I recently had a long telephone consultation with the ICO and we eventually agreed that I should repeat my requests to West Midlands and Devon & Cornwall Police.

I now feel that such extended prevarication should not be allowed to prevent the publishing of information by public bodies and I am reporting this to the HoC Select Committee on Transport. When an act of parliament seems to be made null and void by some obstructive process Ministers can issue “orders in council” ( or some thing similar) to prevent this happening.

Peter W Jones MInstP

It should be noted that the above contains my opinions and these may not necessarily be the same as those of the Institute of Physics on this subject.




The details on the C&G website seem to be “copy protected” so I must resort to typing in what I consider to be the most important paragraph.


Students interested in gaining the award must:

(a) either have successfully completed at least six terms, or four semesters ( or their equivalent) of a full-time undergraduate degree course at a recognised European university or an equivalent course

(e.g. Higher National Diploma)

Or, can demonstrate learning equivalent to university levels 1 and 2.”

As far as the profession of investigating road traffic accidents is concerned I can see no evidence that the above award includes a requirement of students to advance their knowledge of Engineering beyond that of the C&G Certificate in Forensic Collision Investigation.

It is therefore vital that the police should publish the reports of their traffic accident investigators on the internet.

If  is viewed a link is shown to “Practitioners.”

This reveals that one member has quite outstanding relevant qualifications and a few others are also well qualified, but it is not quite clear whether these people are previous or current police officers.

Further more it is not revealed who are the Senior members of and who regulates this institute.

I  have now recorded the highest qualification obtained by each of the 63 members of the Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators listed  as “Practitioners” on their web site, but I doubt if current RTAI’s working for the police will  be on this list.

CEng (2); MA (2); MSc (1); MITAI (37); LCGI (10); BSc (8); BEng (3);

Normally the current academic requirement to be considered for election by a professional body recognised by the Engineering Council  to CEng is an MEng, but sufficient “Endorsement subjects” on HNC/D’s may also be acceptable.

MITAI  are the legally acceptable designatory initials that a member of ITAI can put after his/her name. However, I can find no information on the internet about a syllabus that must be used for the exams leading to MITAI; I suspect that it is very similar to the syllabus for the Police C&G certificate that I have published below.

Edit 14/05/12

I recently posted a reminder on Twitter, addressed to the C&G, that several months have gone by since they promised me under “Freedom of Information”  that they would do their best to let me have details of the course of study that Police Accident Investigators must follow to obtain  LCGLI.



Edit October 2011

The e mail shown below from a Chief Inspector of the West Midlands Police ( sent initially to a councillor who is a member of the  West Midlands Police Authority) was eventually officially published in the minutes of the Birmingham City Council Selly Oak Constituency Committee in July 2011.

It has been just over three years since I originally reported to the BCC Brandwood Ward Committee that Professor Stephen Glaister of Imperial College ,  London University ( and also Director of the Charity RAC Foundation) had said at a press conference that the Police normally only considered law breaking when investigating Road Traffic Accidents.

The Professor’s claim has been fully confirmed by a replies I had under the Freedom of Information Act from the West Midlands Police. It can be seen below that the  West Midlands Police have conceeded that they do not employ anyone of Chartered  Engineer status or higher to advise Police Accident Investigators. Therefore,  even when appropriate evidence is collected at the scene of accidents police may not pass it to the courts as they may not appreciate its significance.

(see   and scroll down to “Mainly Concerning ITAI.)

When I was an associate of the Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators (approx 2003 to 2006) the vast majority of the members and associates were either current or retired police offcers. No academic requirements were stipulated for entry to the training grade. 

In my view this regrettable state of affairs has arisen because ACPO have a policy of nearly all entrants to the Police being selected mainly on the basis of their suitability as ordinary police Constables with almost no account being taken of the needs of Specialised Policing which in some cases needs very good specialised qualifications.


Peter W Jones MInstP                                                                                                                                                                                         

E mail from Cllr Dawkins

Dear Mr Jones,

Many months ago you did request the issue regarding accident investigation be put to our member of the Police Authority. This is something I did by asking Cllr Malcolm Cornish to seek a response from the police.

Below is the response that Cllr Cornish has received from the police.

I hope this is of some use to you. DO come back to me if I can help further.

Kind regards,

This email has been sent by
Councillor Nigel Dawkins,
Selly Oak Constituency Chairman, elected councillor for Bournville, Cotteridge and Stirchley

Subject: FW: Information request from Police Authority Member

My first observation is that the document titled Transport Safety: Is the Law an Ass? is an academic study dated 5th May 2009 and is reflective largely of public/passenger transport across a range of media including rail, air, sea and road. It is also non West Midlands specific and very much reflects the national picture.
Those commenting on the road fatalities mentioned in the document appear eager to understand how the police investigation into road deaths contributes towards preventing similar future fatalities, if at all. There seems to be a misapprehension that the police investigation into road death focuses entirely upon a criminal justice outcome. I hope to be able to provide some clarity around this notion.
The response that follows is very much based on activity, analysis and data relating to the West Midlands force/local authority areas.
I would firstly like to stress that since the report was published in May 2009 West Midlands Police has undergone a major force reorganisation under Programme Paragon. In doing so it created a dedicated Collision Investigation Unit (1 Inspector, 5 Sergeants and 32 Constables) whose sole remit is the investigation of fatal and collisions involving life changing injuries across the West Midlands road network. Specifically, they are charged with the responsibility under the Road Death Investigation Manual and the instruction of HM Coroners to establish

(where possible) the cause of a collision. This involves all contributory factors ranging from mechanical defect to inappropriate road infrastructure. Admittedly the main causation factor is very often human driving error. A by product of the investigation can sometimes be the criminal prosecution of one or more involved in the collision. The most important factor is that the outcome of the investigation is presented to HM Coroner, in which the contributory factors are highlighted. The Coroner having considered the evidence then has the jurisdiction to make recommendations to relevant agencies with a view to each agency considering implementing appropriate
interventions/improvements. Consequently I defend WMP’s position in terms of making a valuable contribution to sharing its findings with a view to preventing further future fatalities.
Statistically at the end of November 2010 West Midlands Police was achieving a 17.5% year to date reduction in collisions resulting in death or serious injury. This is against a baseline target of 1079 recorded incidents the force is currently at 890 incidents for 2010-11. The overriding target is to reduce the number of fatal and serious RTC’s recorded during the most recent 12 months compared to 1-4-2007 to 31-3-2008.
Further analytical data demonstrates the following:
Between Jan-Oct 2010 there has been 23 adult fatalities and 1 Child Fatality (Under 16) in West Midlands
Between Jan-Oct 2009 there were 26 adult and 4 child fatalities in West Midlands
Between Jan-Oct 2008 there were 24 adult and 2 child fatalities in West Midlands
These statistics tend to suggest that road deaths across the West Midlands continue to reduce year on year.
The reductions have been achieved as a result of consistent partnership working across all seven West Midlands local authorities involving Police, Fire, Health, Local Authorities, Education, RoSPA and Trading Standards under the auspice of the seven Road Safety Partnerships. The work we do in partnership very much balances enforcement and education. The focus of the activity is centred around the main causation of collisions resulting in death or serious injury (speed, unlawful use of mobile phones at the wheel, overcrowding passengers, not wearing seatbelts, no insurance, drink/drug driving, inappropriate use of child car restraints to name a few).
My final point is this – In the context
My final point is this – In the context of the report by Dr Elliott, WMP’s investigation into road death almost exclusively involves private vehicles opposed to public transport. The report tends to focus upon the latter and is makes it clear it doesn’t reflect the former. Whilst there are incidents involving fatalities where a bus has collided with a pedestrian for example, I’m struggling to recall and incident in recent years in WMP relating to a collision involving public transport on the scale of those outlined in the report. Therefore its quite difficult to provide a direct response in relation to WMP’s performance in this area of business, although I have absolute confidence that should such an incident occur, we have both the capacity and capability to deal with such incidents, and more importantly we would share the findings of our investigation into such an incident exactly as I’ve outlined.
On this basis I’m more than satisfied that WMP in partnership with statutory and non statutory partner organisations has made some significant developments over a sustained period of time to reduce road deaths and in doing so makes full use of the information gleaned from scene/incident investigations to inform that activity.

Chief Inspector



I have deleted the Chief Inspector’s name address and
Job Title


Comments on the above by PWJ

My first observation is that the document titled Transport Safety: Is the Law an Ass? is an academic study dated 5th May 2009 and is ………


I did not mention Dr Elliot and his above mentioned academic study when I spoke at the
BCC Selly Oak Constituency Meeting.
Before this meeting I had sent Cllr Dawkins a letter in which I did list Dr Elliots’ study.
I regret that on checking my records I see that I failed to mention Professor Stephen Glaister who is the Director of RAC Foundation. I apologise for this error particularly as it has caused the Chief Inspector some extra trouble.

Statistically at the end of November 2010 West Midlands Police was achieving a 17.5% year to date reduction in collisions resulting in death or serious injury. This is against a baseline target of 1079 recorded incidents the force is currently at 890 incidents for 2010-11. The overriding target is to reduce the number of fatal and serious RTC’s recorded during the most recent 12 months compared to 1-4-2007 to 31-3-2008.


The targets mentioned must be similar to those set for general policing activities. If the police are effective in catching and bringing to justice more criminals the latter will be deterred and crime rates will fall.

The above targets for road accident investigation must only be those relating to crime. The police will not therefore  be investigating all the other causes of road accidents.

( Bii) Further evidence.


Select Committee on Transport Eleventh Report
Conclusions and recommendations

21. It is anomalous that the vast majority of work-related deaths are not examined by the Health and Safety Executive, purely because they occur on the roads. The Government should review the role of the Health and Safety Executive with regard to road safety to ensure that it fulfils its unique role in the strategy beyond 2010. (Paragraph 110)


Transport Research Laboratory
Extract from Evidence sent to the Select Committee on Transport.

27. Specialist accident investigation branches exist for air, rail and maritime accidents but there is no
equivalent for road accidents. Where Police Collision Investigators do investigate serious and fatal road accidents their reports are not collated and little use is made of them beyond the case being investigated,
There could be much benefit in establishing a formal link between serious/fatal crash investigation and safety research by standardising certain aspects of investigations and encouraging recommendations from these specialists. Establishing this link would increase the value of police investigations by providing high quality accident data for safety research and thereby helping to reduce casualties.

 (Biii)  RAC  PRESS RELEASE   MAY 2009
Motoring experts have called for a fundamental review of the way road accidents are investigated. 

The RAC Foundation said that future road deaths might be prevented by setting up a road accident investigation branch.

It pointed out that over the past 11 years, 337 people died in UK air accidents, 114 were killed in train crashes and 53 people died in UK territorial waters or on UK-registered ships.

The deaths also led to the launch of investigations by air, rail and marine accident investigation branches.

But despite this as many as 36,781 people having died on the roads during the same period, there is no similar body to investigate road collisions.

The foundation’s director, Professor Stephen Glaister, said: “Historically, road accidents are analysed by individual police forces with the emphasis placed on finding out if anyone has broken the law. Identifying the underlying causes of crashes seems to be of secondary importance.

We’ve been locking up drivers for a century and yet motorists still die in their thousands on the roads each year. The focus on solely penalising individuals rather than also identifying systemic safety failings is a serious flaw in current transport policy. Road safety should be driven by prevention as well as punishment.”

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West Midlands Police Authority

(Biv) DfT Statistics


Due to the size and weight of HGVs, they tend to be involved in more severe accidents. In 2007 the rate of fatal accidents was higher for HGVs (1.6 per 100 million vkm) than for all motor vehicles (0.9 per 100 million vkm). LGVs however had the lowest fatal accident rate of all vehicle types (0.4 per million vkm).——————————————— 


(Bv) The Selby Rail Disaster.

(1) The Selby Rail Disaster was the most expensive RTA in UK history. I have now changed my mind and think the Police or the TRL should test a similar trailer to the one involved in the rail disaster along the lines I have out lined in my blog. See Ref:- Ca3 and scroll down to PARAGRAPH 31i

The over run brake on the trailer above is of exactly  the same type that will be found on school mini bus trailers that have brakes.



 Ca3 =



 Monday 07/02/11



Falling Trees and HGV’s
I have just read on BBC Ceefax that at least 3 high sided lorries have been reported as blown over by the high winds today.
I have not heard any reports of aircraft having crashed because of the same high winds. The latter are safer because the pilots are in charge and they are advised of wind speed and direction at their destination and if they judge it unsafe to land they will be diverted to another airport. This is quite a precise matter. The pilots know the maximum side wind component that their particular aircraft can withstand when landing without risking an undercarriage collapse.
The Police Authorities should ensure that the Police ( both traffic and accident investigators) are advised by suitably qualified Chartered Engineers so that such easily avoided road accidents do not occur. Pressure should also be brought to bear on caravan and high sided lorry manufacturers to provide similar information on their road vehicles to that provided by the aircraft manufacturers. This would also eliminate most of the wind induced snaking/jack knifing.

Peter Jones MInstP


 As is so often off line I have part republished in          and

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Hello world!



RECEIVED 16/05/11

extract from an e mail  from west midlands police to myself.

“I have spoken to our Collision Investigation Unit and there is no record of them using a chartered engineer. External forensic companies have been used, but these are not chartered engineers. You may wish to note that all forensic collision investigators within West Midlands Police hold (or are studying towards) City and Guilds in Forensic Collision Investigation. On occasions where more specialist evidence is required the companies used are all recommended by the National Policing Improvement Agency.”


RECEIVED  7/12/11







Police Forensic



Scheme Handbook


Version 4.0 2007 – 2012


1 Introduction

2 Certification

3 Entry to examination

4 Structure

5 Assessments

6 Entry for certification and assessment

7 Awarding and reporting

8 General regulations

Version 4.0

© June 2006 City & Guilds 1 Giltspur Street

London EC1A 9DD England

3920 Police Forensic Collision Investigation

1 Introduction

The course and related examination has been designed for serving police officers and serving employees of police forces engaged in forensic collision investigation.

2 Certification

The certificate described in this scheme is the Certificate in Police Forensic Collision Investigation.

3 Entry to examination

Entry to the examination is restricted to employees of the police service engaged in forensic collision investigation.

4 Structure

The syllabus is laid out in the form of objectives and syllabus content – objectives indicating the depth of knowledge required to be successful in the examination, and syllabus content illustrating the scope of subject matter to be covered. Also specified are ASSOCIATED STUDIES. Associated Studies objectives are enabling objectives, i.e. questions will not be asked directly on the material but candidates will need to be able to fulfil the objectives to answer questions on the syllabus itself.

5 Assessments

5.1 The scheme has three assessment. components

3920-031 First written paper (essay type questions relating to case study and data handling) 3 hours

3920-032 Second written paper (short answer type questions over the whole syllabus) 2½ hours

3920-033 Practical Assessment.

5.2 Candidates must successfully complete an approved course and are advised to complete the Practical Assessment (Component 3920-033) prior to entering for the written papers.

5.3 After initial training candidates should have a period of mentored practice before taking the theory papers. During this period they should have sufficient experience to enable them to compile a portfolio of two case files. It is recognised that the requirements of an investigation may not allow candidates to provide the definitive report on an incident. The desired result can be achieved by work shadowing provided the candidate processes the raw information independently of the crash investigation officer reporting the case.

5.4 Candidates must take both theory components on their first entry to the examination. Candidates who are successful in only one component may

carry forward their success and need retake only the component in which they were unsuccessful.

5.5 All components must be successfully completed within five years of first registering for the scheme.

5.6 Candidates should note the following points concerning the conduct of examinations.


Candidates will be allowed to use non-programmable calculators in the examination.


The written papers will be set in SI units.


Final answers by candidates in examinations should be quoted to an appropriate precision. Over-precision in final answers will be penalised by examiners.

6 Entry for Certification and Assessment

6.1 Every centre has a Local Examinations Secretary who makes entries, collects fees, arranges for assessments to take place, and corresponds with City & Guilds (or its examiners). The Local Examination Secretary also receives all certificates and correspondence from City & Guilds on behalf of the centre’s candidates.

6.2 Candidates for certification enter, by the timetabled date, through a City & Guilds registered centre. The entry to this scheme is restricted to employees of police forces.

7 Awarding and Reporting

7.1 All candidates for City & Guilds Certificates and Assessments receive a Notification of Candidate Results giving details of their performance.

7.2 For this qualification there are two types of result documentation.


Notification of Candidate Results –

issued to all candidates who make an entry and providing details of their performance in each component, including fail grades and ‘absent’.


Certificate –

issued automatically to all candidates who are successful in the three assessments, this will not indicate any grades of success.

c) Centres will receive all the

Notification of Candidate’s Results and Certificates

for their own candidates.

d) Centres will receive consolidated results lists detailing the

performance of all the candidates they enter.

8 General Regulations

8.1 Details of the availability of assessments and of the general regulations for their conduct are given in the `Directory of Assessments and Awards’. If there is any inconsistency between the scheme regulations in this pamphlet and the `Directory of Assessments and Awards’, the Directory



8.2 For candidates with particular requirements, centres should refer to City & Guilds policy document

`Access to Assessment: Candidates with Particular Requirements’.

This also applies to candidates whose first language is not English.

Certificate in Police Forensic Collision Investigation


1 The certificate is designed for police employees who are concerned with forensic collision investigation.

2 The successful candidate will be able to

a) Protect the scene of an incident and examine it for physical evidence

b) Identify different types of tyre marks and the source of score marks

c) Prepare an accurate record of these marks and other salient features

of the incident before ephemeral evidence disappears

d) Produce a clear and accurate scale plan showing all the important

permanent details of the road layout as well as the features of the

particular incident

e) Conduct test skids

f) Identify, collect & interpret evidence and know when to seek other specialist help

g) Calculate relevant results from these observations.

h) Recognise the limits of his or her knowledge and expertise.

i) Know where, when and how to seek specialist support whenever the requirements of the investigation exceed those limits.

Section 01 Physics


The candidate should be able to

Demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of the following, and apply the principles involved in practical situations.

001 The equations of motion

a) Mass, length and time and their units.

b) The distinction between a vector and a scalar quantity

c) Vector addition using graphical or trigonometric methods

d) An understanding of distance, speed, displacement, velocity and

acceleration. The use of distance/time and velocity/time graphs.

e) The use of equations of motion in solving problems

i) v=u+at

ii) s = (u+v)t


iii) s = ut + 1/2a t


iv) v



002 The laws of motion

a) Newton’s laws of motion and their application.

003 Conservation of momentum

a) Definition of linear momentum, impulse and the principle of conservation of momentum.

004 Simple friction

a) Knowledge of frictional forces

i) static friction

ii) sliding friction

b) Definition of coefficient of friction.

005 Non-skidding wheels

Formulae will be supplied for a) – d) below.

a) The effect on the behaviour of a vehicle when some, but not all, wheels lock.

b) Weight transfer under acceleration and its effect on static axle load.

c) Brake limiter valves, their mode of action and effect on vehicle behaviour and braking distances. (Detailed construction of individual devices will not be examined.)

d) Application of correction formulae for non-skidding wheels.

006 Motion in a circle

a) The calculation of the radius of an arc from chord length and the mid ordinate. (The formula will be supplied.)

b) The part played by centripetal force when an object follows a circular

path at constant speed.

c) Calculation of maximum cornering speeds (critical speeds) and an understanding of the factors affecting the behaviour of the vehicle. (The formulae will be supplied).

007 Impact damage

a) The principle of conservation of energy with particular reference to the ways in which energy is dissipated in a collision.

008 Projectiles

a) A simple understanding of the behaviour of projectiles and its application to the limiting cases where the angles of projectiles are 0° and 45°.

b) The use of these limiting cases to calculate speed of projection from range and vertical fall (The formulae will be supplied). The limitations of the method.

009 Pedestrian incidents

a) A basic understanding of the dynamics of car/pedestrian impact. The sequence of contacts between the car and the pedestrian and the effect of speed on the nature of these contacts.

b) A simple understanding of the relationship between impact speed and the distance a pedestrian will be thrown by the impact. This should include an appreciation of the empirical nature of this relationship and reliability and precision of any results obtained.

010 Estimation of unknowns

a) The ability to assign appropriate values for unknown factors, e.g. coefficient of friction, pedestrian walking speed.

Section 02 Plan drawing


The candidate should be able to

001 Produce scale plans

a) Surveying a section of road or a road junction.

b) Recording of ephemeral data such as skid marks and vehicle positions.

c) Measuring visibility.

d) Preparation of clear and accurate large scale plans.

Section 03 Practical skills

Objective The candidate should be able to

001 Identify tyre marks

a) Differentiation between front and rear wheel skid marks.

b) Recognition of other types of tyre mark, including critical speed scuffmarks.

002 Measure tyre/road friction

a) Reproducible skid tests with and without aids such as a chalk-gun and

a knowledge of necessary precautions.

b) Alternative techniques for measuring friction levels and their use in practice.

003 Interview witnesses

a) The obtaining of appropriate evidence from witnesses and awareness of the limitations of eye witness evidence.

004 Make appropriate use of specialist technical assistance

a) Knowledge of the specialist technical assistance available – eg specialist vehicle examiner, tachographs, scenes of crime officer, forensic science laboratory, photographer.

b) Knowledge of what different forms of assistance can contribute to an investigation.

c) Understand what the requirements of each specialist are.

005 Prepare reports and statements

a) Summarising information.

b) Interpretation of witnesses’ evidence.

c) Presentation of evidence and conclusions.

006 Health & Safety

a) Determine the extent of the scene of an incident and the most practical methods of protection.

b) Understand the risks of skid testing and ways of reducing them.

c) Understand the hazards presented by: blood & body fluids, broken glass, damaged bodywork, spills, etc and methods of reducing risk.

Section 04 Associated studies (enabling objectives)


Section 01 Mathematics Objective

The candidate should be able to

001 Use arithmetic principles in the manipulation of decimal numbers

a) Powers, squares and square roots

b) The meaning and use of significant figures.

002 Use algebra

a) Use of formulae

b). Use of algebraic notation

003 Solve linear and quadratic equations

a) Transposition of formulae to change the subject of the equation

b) Substitution of values in a linear equation and its solution.

c) Solution of the general quadratic equation.



+ bx + c = 0. (The formula will be supplied.)

004 Apply the principles of simple trigonometry

a) Definition of sine, cosine and tangent

b). Use of the trigonometric function and Pythagoras Theorem to solve problems involving right-angled triangles.

005 Demonstrate an understanding of the significance of precision, accuracy and

error in calculations

a) The meaning of precision and accuracy and understanding of the difference between them.

b) The difference between errors and mistakes and the application of the concept of error to measurements and calculation in accident investigation.

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