Meet our new TISPOL President, Volker Orben

Published Tue, 21/05/2019 - 07:00


We are delighted to publish the first interview with new TISPOL President Volker Orben


Q Congratulations on becoming the new President of TISPOL. What are your thoughts about this exciting new challenge for you?

First of all I am very grateful and proud for the confidence the TISPOL Council has in me to be the voice of the European Roads Policing Network. We need this voice to highlight the importance of our daily work for all European citizens. Traffic police officers  are responsible for the effective and efficient enforcement of traffic rules. In more than 90% of collisions someone has committed an offence against traffic rules.

The weekly number of road deaths in the EU (around 500 on average) is equivalent to two passenger airliners crashing and killing everyone on board. 

Enforcement contributes to the compliance of traffic laws and saves lives. To ensure effective and efficient enforcement, roads policing as a prerequisite needs enough police officers and technical devices in all European countries. It is very simple: without enforcement, traffic rules are worthless. I will be the voice that highlights this demand at a European and a national level.


Q Looking back at the work of previous presidents such as Paolo Cestra, Aidan Reid, Koen Ricour, Pasi Kemppainen, Javier Sanchez, Roar Larsen… is there perhaps something special that each of these people has brought to TISPOL? 

I joined TISPOL in 2015 as German representative so I don’t know the special achievements of the former Presidents in detail. What I know and feel is the TISPOL culture: All Presidents are coming from different European member states, but have the same aim: to improve the impact of traffic enforcement to reduce traffic casualties.


Q TISPOL is changing. How confident are you that the changes are good – and will work? 

We are changing in organisational matters only. This changes will not concern for what TISPOL is standing for, will not concern our philosophy. Our partners will not notice these changes, except that we are considering a change of name. The forthcoming Council meeting in Dublin (September 2019) will need to decide on a change from TISPOL to ROADPOL which is a proposal from TISPOL Executive Committee members. There are several reasons for that. So the acronym stands for Traffic Information System Police and emerged in times when information was something that was hard to gather, especially on European level. 

Today we have plenty of information available, and the issue is much more to evaluate databases and to draw the right conclusions. Another reason is that TISPOL is a registered trademark which is still held by the former company TISPOL Limited and the current network does not get the rights the TISPOL Limited.


Q What do you see as your priorities while you are President? 

Priority one on terms of time is to finish the necessary organisational changes outgoing President Paolo Cestra and acting General Secretary Aidan Reid had commenced. I am working very close with them and the new Executive Committee to get the best result for the TISPOL Network. In spite of the tight time pressure, I am confident that we will have a new constitution and TISPOL will be registered in a member state as an International Public Association at the end of the year.

My main priority is the same as all former Presidents had: to present TISPOL as the competent European network of roads police forces. There is only one.


Q What are some new or emerging areas where TISPOL’s expertise and experience could be valuable? 

In May 2018, the European Commission published a Strategic Action Plan on Road Safety that includes a new long-term target to halve road deaths by 2030 as well as, for the first time, a target to reduce serious injuries by the same amount. Increased and well-publicised enforcement targeting the main risks of speeding, drinking and drug driving, distraction and non-use of seat belts on the road forms a fundamental part of achieving the new EU 2030 targets. 

The European Commission will as a key action investigate how to provide stability in funding support for road safety actions under the next Multiannual Financial Framework, such as joint cross-border road traffic enforcement operations organised in cooperation between police bodies.

Therefore I offer the Commission, as President of the network of the European Traffic Police forces, my full support to implement this action.


Q What’s your view on the value of partnership working? Where has this been most successful for TISPOL and where should the organisation look for new, effective partnerships? 

I know that we are all 100 per cent focused on sharing, learning and delivering together. We are perfectly poised to take full advantage of the many opportunities open to us. Our relationships with governments, industry and stakeholders are better than ever, and I believe we have a really strong team in place to deliver further growth and success in the coming years.

I see the need for me as TISPOL President to continue to develop our network internationally, consolidating the present position in Europe and making the organisation known even further afield. 

We place high value on our excellent long-term relationship with the European Transport Safety Council.


Q Leave us with a clear message of support, advice and encouragement as TISPOL prepares for a new era… 

My clear message is my commitment to TISPOL`s strategic vision: a safe European road system increasingly free of death and serious injury. We acknowledge the immense challenge we and our road safety partners face as we seek to achieve the target set by the European Commission of a 50 per cent reduction in road deaths by 2030 as well as, for the first time, a target to reduce serious injuries by the same amount. There has, after all, been a drastic slow-down in the reduction of road deaths.

We know the importance of enforcement in reducing road death and serious injury, and we are committed to ensuring that Europe has the world’s safest roads. We will ensure in our strategy that the principles of the Safe System are included. 

Working with the right partners, we will prioritise the ‘fatal 4’ offences, and will organise our objectives to promote safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe road users.