‘This was a positive day of action’ – Two arrests made in multi-agency road operation
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Two people were arrested on suspicion of drug driving and more than 40 vehicles were inspected in a day of action aiming to disrupt, deter and detect criminality on the county’s roads.
Operation Truck and Bus took place on Tuesday in Bury St Edmunds targeting light goods vehicles (LGVs) and passenger carrying vehicles (PCVs).
The multi-agency operation had a primary focus on commercial vehicles but also larger vehicles transporting shipping containers, and also aimed to improve compliance with road safety legislation.
Roads and Armed Policing Team (RAPT) and Road Casualty Reduction Team (RCRT) officers were deployed to strategic locations on the A14 and surrounding roads on Tuesday with the intention of identifying and stopping vehicles suspected of any offences.
Vehicles were then escorted back to the check site at Rougham Hill lorry park, where officers from the RAPT and the Police Dog Unit, along with partners from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), conducted further checks.
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In total, 45 vehicles were brought to the check site, with just 10 leaving clear of any offences.
The results of the inspections are as follows:
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• Two people arrested on suspicion of drug driving – one provided a positive drug wipe for cocaine and the other for cannabis.
• 33 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) issued – 14 for no seatbelt, six for using a mobile phone, three for carriage of dangerous goods, two each for number plate, dangerous condition, and tachograph offences, and one each for the offences of no insurance (vehicle seized), no MOT, defective tyres, and defective exhaust.
• Two Graduated Fixed Penalty Notices and fines totalling £600 issued for failing to take sufficient daily rest and failing to take sufficient driving breaks.
• One fixed penalty for not having a valid Certificate of Professional Competence
• In addition to the two positive drug wipes, a further five people were tested for drugs providing negative samples, and eight people were breathalysed, also providing negative tests.
• 22 vehicles were searched by the passive drugs dog, with no indications.
• DVSA issued 24 advisory notices for minor defects; five delayed prohibitions for mechanical defects, and four immediate prohibitions.
• The GLAA interviewed 22 workers, and HMRC officers dip-tested 42 fuel tanks, with no offences found.
Sergeant Julian Ditcham, from the joint Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “This was a positive day of action and a great example of multi-agency working, the primary aim of which is to continue to make our roads safe for all users – including the drivers we stopped on the day.
“It was very disappointing that 35 of the 45 vehicles brought back to the check site recorded offences, and that two people were arrested for drug-driving, and I think 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.”
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 constabulary’s roads policing unit 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 Op Truck and Bus such a success.
“There is a very serious message for those who choose not to comply with the law and keep vehicles properly maintained and that is you are highly likely to be caught and punished severely and in my view deservedly so.”