The work of road collision investigators is often-overlooked, but one which is so vital to the pursuit of justice for those affected by road traffic incidents

Since my election in 2010, I have enjoyed meeting countless numbers of constituents, many with inspiring stories. There are some that particularly stand out and the Galli-Atkinson’s campaign is one, which is why I was grateful for the opportunity to raise the important topic of police investigations into road traffic deaths in the Adjournment debate on Monday 29th January.

I first met George and Giulietta Galli-Atkinson shortly after I was elected as the Member of Parliament for Rugby in 2010. The family had recently moved from London to Rugby. I was immediately struck by their incredible commitment to making sure our roads are safer, so that other families can be spared the tragedy that they have had to bear.

In January 1998, George and Giulietta’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Livia, was killed on her way to ballet by a driver who drove on to the pavement where she walking in Enfield. The sentence in Livia’s case was a very light one, a £2000 fine, 10 points and a 5 year driving ban but it was the work of the three police officers in charge of the case who were superlative and, eventually, inspired the Livia Award. There was then no public accolade for Traffic Police Officers and through their own experiences the family have most admirably turned their own grief into something very positive.

The Livia Award for Professionalism and Service to Justice has grown from an award that was first presented in The Livia Memorial Garden, as a memento of personal gratitude, into a milestone in the Metropolitan Police’s history and annual agenda. It has been endorsed by the Prime Minister and the Police Commissioner since 2000, but, most especially, by the Metropolitan Traffic Command and its Officers. The award is made annually to the Metropolitan Police Officer who is judged to have provided the most meritorious service to road death investigation, either in a specific case or sustained through several investigations or who has provided the family of a road crash victim with outstanding service.

The Livia Award held its 25th anniversary in November last year and I am very proud to have been part of the judging panel for a number of years. Each year, I am struck by the professionalism and service to justice that the candidates portray. It has been a real honour to work alongside the Galli-Atkinson’s and watch how their energy and dedication to road safety has inspired, and changed, the work of the police in this area. There are now specialist units within the Met Police; The Roads and Transport Policy Command (RTPC), the Serious Collision Investigation Units and the Forensic Collision Investigation Units all working tirelessly on the Galli-Atkinson’s vision for safer roads and fair sentencing.

George and Giulietta have been involved with many successful road safety campaigns and programmes. One of these programmes is called Safe Drive Stay Alive (SDSA) and was started in 2000. It has operated successfully in 19 London boroughs. As the local MP for Rugby, I am delighted that the programme was introduced in my constituency in 2017. Safe Drive Stay Alive is a professional, high impact and effective stage show. The objective of this road safety initiative is to show young people why, as young drivers, they, and their passengers, are so vulnerable in their early years on the road and what they can do to reduce this vulnerability. I have no doubt that these messages will have saved lives.

Over the years, the couple have contributed to countless public consultations on road safety, legislation, and enforcement, and still to this day are campaigning tirelessly on both sides of the House to ensure that the Road Safety Investigation Branch (RSIB), promised by Government, comes to fruition.

George and Giulietta are truly an inspiration and their energy and commitment to road safety, fair sentencing and proper recognition of outstanding police officers in this area deserve high recognition and praise.
I have found it inspirational – but also deeply challenging – to learn about the work of road collision investigators within the police service. It is a role which is often-overlooked, but one which is so vital to the pursuit of justice for those affected by road traffic incidents. The Livia Awards have recognised many police officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in the support of families such as the Galli-Atkinsons and I have been very proud to have been involved with the Awards.

Mark Pawsey MP

Mark Julian Francis Pawsey is a British politician who has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Rugby since the 2010 general election.