Drivers should have a “genuine fear of being caught” if they speed, use a phone at the wheel or drive under the influence of drink or drugs, according to Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, Roads Policing Lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Speaking at the National Roads Policing Conference, Bangham set out a vision for the UK having the safest roads in the world. He said all police officers should make it their business to police the roads and called on roads policing offers to take an unapologetic approach to enforcing the law.

“Let’s commit to having the safest roads, let’s make it everyone’s business, let’s embrace technology and what the public can do – let’s get out there and send the message that we’re proud of what we do,” he said.

Bangham also recommended that speeding drivers be punished, even if they only exceed the limit by 1mph.

“We need to be clearer with the public about what they should expect from the police,” he said. “I fear we’ve become apologetic about enforcing laws designed to prevent people being killed or injured. I want us to do more to proactively detect people driving using a mobile or speeding on high harm routes, and be clear that they can expect to be stopped and could receive the full penalty.

“As an example, anything from 31mph onwards is over the speed limit and the options for a police response – a speed awareness course, fixed penalty notice or attendance at court – are discretionary based on the circumstances. My message to drivers is – don’t assume you have a free pass if you’re over the limit.”