The company set up by senior Police Officers to process applications for ‘speed awareness’ courses is under investigation after it was revealed it amassed a surplus of nearly £2m. Road Safety Support Ltd was established at the suggestion of the former Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, Mr Meredydd Hughes, who was in office at the time when the actions of Asian grooming gangs in Rotherham were ignored by Police.
Police and Crime Commissioners are now asking questions about how public money intended for road safety ended up being stockpiled in a private company with former Police as directors. The company was supposed to take a £5 administration fee for each driving that opted to go on a speed awareness course rather than get points on their license. But Police handed out so many speeding tickets that this translated into huge sums.
Christopher Salmon, Conservative PCC for Dyfed-Powys, told the MailOnline the surplus was the result of “a murky deal from the days when police forces were not scrutinised properly”. He added: “Many PCCs, including me, want a thorough investigation into how so much money from speeding motorists ends up in private hands.”
Although the company has the legal right to keep a surplus the auditor has expressed concern at the size of the sum, and claims there is no concrete plans to spend the money. There have also been concerns raised by the governance of the company that has Mr Hughes as a director, alongside former traffic policeman Trevor Hall and businessman Bill Howes. The company is not for profit, but they have also established a company offering their expertise in road safety.
A spokesman for the firms said: “The bulk of the fee pays for the necessary admin support, course development and assessment, IT, and the necessary centrally provided legal and technical services.
“Frequent audits and legal opinion have determined that the funds are correctly held by NDORS Ltd in compliance with UK law. The directors have written the company articles to ensure the surplus can only be used for road safety purposes.
“Directors of NDORS Ltd have always fully co-operated with numerous reviews over the years. Indeed, they initiated moves to bring more open governance into the scheme.”
Since the Rotherham grooming case has come to light Hughes has admitted he did not know the extent of the problem when he was Chief Constable from 2004 – 2011. During this period there were examples of victims and their families being arrested in preference to those who were later convicted of wrongdoing. This led families to believe the perpetrators were untouchable.