Commercial vehicles fined £100k on Suffolk's roads in just four months
- Credit: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY
A specialist Suffolk police unit focused on the movements of commercial vehicles has issued more than £100,000 in fines within just four months of its launch.
Suffolk Constabulary launched the Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU) on November 23 to provide specialist enforcement and improve safety on the county's roads, particularly the A14, which ends at the UK's biggest container port.
By the end of March, it had stopped 553 vehicles, issued 824 tickets and 121 warnings, made six arrests and handed out £102,100 in fines.
As well as monitoring compliance with commercial vehicle laws, the unit of two constables, supervised by a roads policing sergeant, was set up to help disrupt serious offences like drug smuggling and human trafficking.
Inspector Gary Miller, of the roads and armed policing team, said: "We knew there was demand – and the CVU has proved its concept.
"It's almost a shame it's done so well, because it highlights there's an area of enforcement where there's a lack of compliance.
"One area we've seen quite significant enforcement around is overweight vehicles. Some drivers will know there's a restriction, but won't know what that weight limit is, or the implications of exceeding it."
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Insp Miller said the unit had the power to impound the vehicles of hauliers or drivers previously found transporting illegal immigrants but yet to pay the resulting fines.
It also works with the local licensing authority to carry out taxi and bus checks, and with partners like the Port of Felixstowe to share information on vehicles of interest.
"The aim is to bring the standard of vehicles up to comply with the law, so there are less opportunities for incidents that can close roads for hours at a time," he said.
"All roads policing legislation is developed as a result of lessons learned. If you have a driver regularly extending past driver hours, they're not going to be in a fit state to drive that vehicle, and accidents involving heavy goods vehicles tend to be more serious in nature."
Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, who funded the unit through last year’s council tax precept increase, said the unit not only helped keep roads safe, but also helped combat serious criminality and organised crime groups, while supporting the transport and logistics business by bringing rogue operators to justice.
He added: “The CVU has only been in existence for six months and has already achieved some superb results.
“The unit’s importance cannot be overstated as the data shows.
"This success is to be welcomed by all of us in Suffolk and I’d like to congratulate all involved.”