Safer roads, Safer Wiltshire – focused op targets drivers breaking law
Road safety is a key priority for Wiltshire’s communities. It’s also a key priority for Wiltshire PCC Philip Wilkinson in the latest police and crime plan – the strategic policing blueprint for the county.
And, yesterday, he was delighted to spend time with Wiltshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit for a targeted day-of-action on the county’s roads.
Officers from the team dealt with 140 motoring offences in just 12 hours during the special operation.
The RPU team targeted drivers failing to abide by the law across Wiltshire, resulted in fines being issued and drivers reported to court for a variety of offences including:
Children carried in a vehicle in a dangerous manner
Failing to wear a seat belt
Using a vehicle when there is a danger of injury due to position and security of load
Using a mobile phone while driving.
A man in his 40s was arrested in Swindon on suspicion of drug driving, while another driver - an elderly man - was taken to the Great Western Hospital for assessment following a minor collision.
Officers also attended a collision at a school in Calne, several careless driving offences and dealt with drivers recording excess speed across the county.
Wiltshire PCC Philip Wilkinson also joined officers during the day of action. He said: “Days like this are so important to show Wiltshire Police will robustly target those drivers who fail to abide by the rules on our roads. Proactive, targeted, policing of the issues that matter to communities builds trust and ensures the force is delivering a service that meets the need of its communities.
“Road safety is a key priority in my police and crime plan as a direct result of communities highlighting how important the issue is to them. From listening to these concerns, and the operational advice received from the Chief Constable, I was also able to ensure investment from the precept was allocated to boost the number of officers and vehicles to ensure we are making Wiltshire safer for all.”
Speed checks were also conducted alongside a Community Speedwatch Enforcement Officer with 10 people reported for excess speed offences.
Community reassurance and vehicle checks were held in Bradenstoke following concerns raised by residents relating to the use of the village roads by HGVs following the closure of Lyneham Banks due to storm damage earlier this year.
Sgt Will Ayres, who organised the event, said: “To have dealt with more than 140 offences in just 12 hours is really impressive work by the team and I hope this sends a clear message to the public that we are committed to targeting poor standards of driving.
“In total, we had five people reported for using a mobile phone while driving on the M4, and 26 further incidents of using a mobile phone across the county – this is so frustrating for myself and my colleagues because we deal with the devastation following serious collisions and often these collisions are a result of somebody using a mobile phone while driving.
“Notifying someone that their loved one is no longer here as a result of somebody being distracted at the wheel, especially when it is so preventable, is one of the worst experiences you can have in this job. We hear plenty of excuses when it comes to dealing with incidents of this nature – ‘I was just replying to my friend’, ‘I was responding to a work email’. All of these things can wait until you have stopped driving – I am sure your colleagues or friends would agree, that it’s more important that you arrive late than not at all.
“I think drivers can become complacent – driving, for most people, is something that they do day-in, day-out but I cannot stress enough just how important it is that when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, you give the road your full attention at all times.
“One of the most shocking cases from today was an incident in Swindon in which a driver was reported for the offence of ‘using a vehicle when there is a danger of injury due to position and security of load’ – his car was loaded with large pieces of wood over the top of a newborn baby in the rear of the vehicle. It doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened had there been a collision, or the driver had been forced to take evasive action.”
If you’d like to catch up on all of the action from the Roads Policing Day of Action, you can visit the @WiltsSpecOps Twitter page or search the hashtag #12HoursOnWiltshiresRoads.