Fifty officers enforce driving crackdown

POLICE officers swooped on unsuspecting drivers in Essex yesterday as part of a crackdown on motoring offences.Operation Steel Guard began at 6am and involved more than 50 officers, police staff and special constables who targeted key areas in Colchester.

POLICE officers swooped on unsuspecting drivers in Essex yesterday as part of a crackdown on motoring offences.

Operation Steel Guard began at 6am and involved more than 50 officers, police staff and special constables who targeted key areas in Colchester.

The clampdown targeted drivers suspected of careless driving, drink and drug-driving, speeding, driving while using a mobile telephone and seatbelt offences.

And after just two hours, 69 people had been issued with fixed penalty notices.


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Also during that time they seized three vehicles whose owners were caught without insurance.

Inspector Mark Harman, from Stanway road traffic unit, said: “We want to reduce the number of deaths and serious injury accidents in Essex.

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“By targeting Colchester's hotspots we hope to cover the wide spectrum of drivers - from school runs and professionals to social drivers out on a Friday evening.”

In the Mersea Road area - one of five zones into which the operation had been divided - one driver experienced the long arm of the law while she watched as her car was towed away. Officers saw the vehicle parked illegally and, on investigation, found she was also uninsured to drive it. She was fined a fixed penalty of £200.

Pc Rob Sharman said: “People are happy to accept the penalties as they know they're in the wrong.”

His colleague Pc Jason Dearsley attended the recent traffic offences crackdown at Basildon, the first of three areas in the operation. He said: “In a bigger area like Colchester we expect this to have more of an impact.”

Yesterday afternoon, several hours into the crackdown, 11 more vehicles had been seized for having no insurance and 140 drivers had been stopped for various other traffic offences.

Insp Harman said: “It has been hugely successful and officers even today have seen drivers' behaviour improve in the town.”

Yesterday's clampdown also involved the co-operation of Essex' Safety Camera Enforcement Partnership and the DVLA to communicate with officers about unlicensed vehicles. VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) were also on hand for the operation, which was due to last until 3am this morning .

In December, another crackdown is due to take place in Essex, although its precise location will remain confidential.

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