Operation Orbital: Commercial Vehicle Unit keeping the M25 safe
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In just one week, Operation Orbital, dedicated to keeping the M25 safe, saw 152 drivers reported for traffic-related offences.
Last week, our Road Commercial Vehicle Unit patrolled the M25 in unmarked “supercabs” in a bid to keep our roads safe.
Adam Pipe, Head of Roads Policing, said:
“Orbital’s focus was to detect and deter driver behaviour that increases the risk to everyone.
“Clearly a significant amount of planning goes into such operations, but the results speak for themselves. In short, 185 vehicles were stopped, 152 people were reported for offences, we seized two vehicles and made one arrest. The fines issued amounted to almost £19,000.
“Our job is to make our roads safe for everyone and to deal with offenders who flout the law and put lives at risk on one of the major strategic roads in our road network.”
The week-long operation (from Monday 14 November) saw Essex Police and other forces work with National Highways, who fund the “supercabs”, and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency patrol the M25 through each of their respective counties Essex, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.
Of the 185, the Commercial Vehicle Unit stopped 129 commercial vehicles, 55 cars and one motorcycle. By far, the biggest offence was non-seatbelt wearing where 60 drivers were issued a fixed penalty notice which warrants a £100 fine for each of the drivers. This was followed by 27 fines for the use of a mobile phone whilst driving. The two offences coupled with excess speed and drink or drug driving are also known as the Fatal Four - offences which contribute to serious and fatal collisions.
During the operation, our officers carried out vital safety checks on commercial vehicles to check they are not overloaded, that they are road-worthy and drivers’ hours are complied with. Unfortunately, one commercial driver was fined £150 for exceeding driver hours, 13 were stopped on the hard shoulder and HGV driver who was driving without a licence was fined £300 fine and had their vehicle seized.
Operation Orbital sees our Commercial Vehicle and Road Crime Units patrolling the M25 in unmarked “supercabs” in a bid to keep our roads safe.
Operation Orbital focusses on detecting and deterring driver behaviour that increases the risk to everyone. Poor driver behaviour often contributes to collisions on the M25, which adds time to everyone’s journey and has a cost to the economy.
The week-long operation sees Essex Police and five other forces work with National Highways and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency from Monday 14 November to patrol the M25 through each of their respective counties.
Essex and the combined Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire Commercial Vehicle Unit met together one day during the week of deployments (pictured).
Operation Orbital is also able to combine this operation with the charity Brake and their National Road Safety Week to support their vital work in caring for bereaved families by making the roads of Essex a safer place to use.
Sergeant Jason Dearsley, who leads Essex Police’s CVU, said:
“Every year there are serious collisions on the M25 and our focus throughout this operation is to tackle the factors that contribute to those collisions and to identify high harm crimes committed on our roads that put other road users at risk.
“By collaboratively working to tackle offences such non-wearing of seat belts or being distracted through using a mobile phone, we hope to reduce the number of collisions, something we are supporting through our work with the Safer Essex Road Partnership under Operation Vision Zero.
“It’s our ambition to have no road deaths by 2040 and anything we can do now to help us achieve that can only be a good thing.”
So far this week, CVU officers have used the lorry, funded by National Highways, to great effect. The “supercabs” as they are known allow officers the extra vision they need to see into commercial vehicles where the cabs are higher than normal vehicles, as well as lookdown into smaller vehicles where drivers try to hide their behaviour.
“Professional drivers move goods all around the country, and we need them. But the selfish actions of the minority can result in delays or tragedy to families and employers. Most drivers adhere to the rules of the road and the support we receive from Transport Managers is fantastic. By using the truck cab, we can spot infringements of the law as they happen. This week we spotted a driver using cutlery and a plate to eat their meal whilst driving along!”
Operation Orbital also sees our officers carry out vital safety checks on vans and lorries to check they are not overloaded, that they are road-worthy and drivers’ hours will be checked to help keep drivers on the M25 network safe.