How we’re keeping our roads safe and targeting the criminals who use them
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Road safety is a priority for our force and this year will see further investment to support safety initiatives and combat criminal activity on our road network.
Adam Pipe, Head of Roads Policing, said an increase in officer numbers, new high-performance vehicles, and the addition of new dashcam technology thanks to £1.5m from the office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) will help his team secure convictions for dangerous drivers and disrupt the criminals who use the roads in Essex.
Last September, the Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) – comprising of groups including Essex Police, Essex County Council, Highways England and the Safer Roads Foundation – launched Vision Zero, a commitment to reducing to number of deaths and serious injuries on Essex’s roads to zero by 2040.
Adam Pipe said: “Our Roads Policing team get called to far too many fatal or serious collisions where at least one of the ‘fatal four’ contributory factors are present – inappropriate speed, not wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone while driving, and drink or drug driving.
“By educating the public on the ‘fatal four’, I hope that drivers will reflect on their own driving and see what areas they can improve to help keep themselves and other road users safe.”
The Christmas and New Year period saw 280 people arrested for drink or drug driving, or failing to provide a specimen as officers conducted 1,216 breath tests.
SERP’s Extra Eyes campaign was launched to encourage road-users to report poor or dangerous driving by submitting dashcam footage. A dedicated investigation team is now dealing with around 300 incidents a month.
Adam Pipe added that the strength of the force’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) will see those who break the law punished.
He said: “Our SCIU continue to bring offenders to justice, many of whom are getting significant sentences. People are losing their lives because of situations that could have been prevented.
“Later this year, the crime of death by dangerous driving aggravated by drink or drugs will go to a life-term tariff. This is a really strong message that will allow us to do more for victims.”
One of the new Volvos that have been added to the fleet.
The Roads Policing Unit has 135 officers and staff, and 17 special constables based across Chigwell, Stanway and South Woodham Ferrers.
The unit includes the Road Crime team that is dedicated to targeting high-end criminality, the Commercial Vehicle Unit, a specialist motorcycle team, and a data analyst.
Adam Pipe said the investment in technology and the unit’s new vehicles will help them keep up to speed with the criminals on our roads.
“Our new vehicles will mean we can get to incidents quickly and maintain pursuits with criminals who are in high-performance cars, and we’ve had £1.5m of investment approved by the PFCC for in-car video (dashcam) that will see 80 cars fitted with units. This will be an absolute game-changer.
“All of our roads policing officers now have laptops which means they won’t have to return to police stations as often, and we’ve been able to invest in equipment such as portable weighing plates that allow us to do our jobs better.
“Sadly, people continue to drink and drive, and drive under the influence of drugs but we will drive that down with the help of the public.
“However, roads policing is not only about keeping our roads safe, it’s also about detecting, disrupting and dismantling criminality.
“We have some very significant roads in Essex and along with the Met Police and other neighbouring forces we have a number of ongoing operations that are targeting key routes linked to high-harm crimes including drug dealing, violence, sexual offences and burglary.
“Our team is committed to making our roads safer and will take the strongest possible action against anyone putting lives at risk by driving when unfit or using our road network for criminal purposes.”
Read more about Extra Eyes or submit footage of poor or dangerous driving by visiting the SERP website.