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Four arrested on suspicion of drug driving after police operation

Pc Chris Squirrell with police dog Rigsby; PCC Tim Passmore; and Pc Kelly Milton (RAPT) at the Copdock check site Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Pc Chris Squirrell with police dog Rigsby; PCC Tim Passmore; and Pc Kelly Milton (RAPT) at the Copdock check site Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Archant

A police operation targeting trucks and passenger carriers on Suffolk’s roads last week saw four people arrested on suspicion of drug driving.

Operation Truck and Bus took place over five days from Monday, February 18, to Friday, February 22, and more than 50 vehicles were inspected.

The first four days involved enforcement across the county and the on the fifth day, vehicles were brought back to a check site at the Tesco truck stop at Copdock, Ipswich.

The operation, which was aiming to disrupt, deter and detect offences relating to all forms of vehicle-enabled criminality, was carried-out in support of both a Europe-wide TISPOL Truck and Bus campaign, and a National Police Chiefs’ Council carriage of dangerous goods campaign.

During the first four days Roads and Armed Policing Team (RAPT) officers were deployed to strategic routes around the county - primarily the A14, A12 and A11 - with the intention of identifying and stopping vehicles suspected of any offences.

On the fifth day, RAPT officers were joined by the Road Casualty Reduction Team (RCRT), in escorting vehicles back to the check site at Copdock, where they were assisted in carrying-out checks by the Police Dog Unit, and partners from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

A total of 59 vehicles were stopped across the five days, of which 37 were escorted back to the check site – with just six leaving clear of any offences.

Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk, said: “Keeping Suffolk’s roads safe and free flowing is particularly important for residents and businesses.

“The Roads and Armed Policing Team has a pivotal role in helping to achieve this and I really would like to congratulate them and the other agencies who contributed to make Operation Truck and Bus such a success.

“I spent some time at Copdock during the operation and was very disappointed to see that such a high percentage of vehicles pulled over recorded offences and absolutely shocked to see two drivers arrested for drug-driving in the short time that I was there.

“I fully support these multi-agency operations, they send out a strong, clear message to those who choose not to comply with the law and keep vehicles properly maintained that Suffolk Constabulary is on the case.”

Results from the operation included:

• Four people arrested on suspicion of drug driving – one provided a positive drug wipe for cocaine and the other three for cannabis.

• One person was reported for a summons to court for driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, and two people were given warnings for possession of cannabis

• 26 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) were issued, six for illegal number plates, three for not wearing a seatbelt, two for no MOT; two for driving through a red light; two for an overweight vehicle (£300 fine); two Graduated fixed penalty notices for tachograph offences, totalling £400; and one each for: careless driving; no insurance; no driving licence; defective tyres; defective exhaust; defective brakes; excess daily drive (tachograph); and one for not having a tachograph fitted.

• Five vehicles stopped for carriage of dangerous goods, all of which were committing offences and two had prohibitions issued

Sergeant

Julian Ditcham, from the RAPT, said: “This was a positive week of action, the primary aim of which was to continue to make our roads safe for all users. “As such, it was very disappointing that 52 of the 59 vehicles stopped over the course of the week recorded offences and that four people were arrested for drug-driving, but this displays the value of these types of operation as far too many people are prepared to take unnecessary risks on our roads.

“We will continue to hold these days of action which, alongside the work we do every day, help to raise awareness of road safety in general and the ‘fatal four’ main causes of fatal or serious road traffic collisions which are: drink/drug driving; speeding; using a mobile phone; and not wearing a seatbelt.”

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