THE NUMBER of motorists who have been fined or cautioned for using a mobile phone while driving across the two counties has fallen.

Between 2007 - when the law came into effect - and 2012, the number has fallen from 4422 to 1861 in Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

The figures were released by West Mercia Police following a freedom of information (FOI) request.

Despite a rise in the number of motorists fined or cautioned for using a mobile phone between 2007 and 2008 from 4422 to 4804, the number has constantly fallen year on year since.

In 2009, 3825 motorists were fined or cautioned, falling to 3204 in 2010 and 2376 in 2011.

In 2012 to date, 1861 people have been fined or cautioned for using a mobile phone.

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: "Road safety issues are a priority for West Mercia Police. Distracted drivers are a significant cause of road collisions and in response to this more than 2,000 fines were given to motorists last year showing that we are still enforcing what we see as a serious problem.

"The figures for fines given for mobile use while driving is not something that West Mercia Police has analysed in depth, so we would not want to attribute the decline in offence numbers to any particular reason at this time.

"Enforcement is a responsibility of uniformed officers from a variety of departments, for example, roads policing officers, officers at the Central Motorway Patrol Group and regular response officers.

"We would point out that officers can also use their discretion when dealing with a driver, do not always give out a fine and can choose to pass on word of advice if they believe it is appropriate."