In a continued effort to address public concerns of the standard of driving during lockdown across the county, a proactive approach to enforcement saw 136 individuals arrested on suspicion of driving offences, including 88 drug driving offences and 84 drink driving offences*, with 20 disqualified drivers stopped.
In the last two weeks of the activity alone, 39 drivers were stopped on suspicion of having no licence or otherwise in accordance to their licence, taking the total to 81 over the course of the six weeks.
During the period of increased activity, there was a national campaign to target driving whilst using a mobile phone, which is one of the fatal four reasons that increases the chances of a collision occurring and that collision resulting in serious injury or a fatality.
In total, 41 people across the county were stopped whilst using a mobile phone – a quarter of the total notices that were issued for the same offence for the entirety of 2020 (167).
Ensuring road worthiness of vehicles also formed part of the campaign and we seized 152 vehicles, 129 of those were for driving whilst uninsured, whilst 33 vehicles were stopped without tax and 42 were stopped with expired MOTs.
One of the concerns raised by the public during lockdown has been the speeds of vehicles and we carried out a total of 130 speed checks during the six weeks.
As a result, 168 Traffic Offence Reports were handed out, five summons to court and 261 words of advice given.
We are really pleased to announce that the Community Speed Watch scheme, which has been stood down due to Covid restrictions so as to protect the safety of our CSW volunteers, is due to return on 29 March.
Assistant Chief Constable Deb Smith said: “Whilst we know the majority of road users across Wiltshire abide by the law and drive safely, this additional proactive activity just highlights the sheer amount of work carried out on a daily basis to keep the county’s roads safe.
“I was recently able to join the Operation Tramline, in collaboration with Highways England, where an unmarked HGV is driven by Police Officers on the motorway to spot driving offences being committed and saw first-hand the excellent work that is being done by my officers.
“We have learned some important lessons from this recent activity in our approach and we will continue to target those putting the lives of road users at unnecessary risk by the manner of their driver or the state of their vehicles.
“We often get feedback that we should be spending time catching ‘real criminals’ but if we can save lives being needlessly loss on roads in Wiltshire, then that is time well spent.
“As the chair of the Swindon and Wiltshire Road Safety Strategic Group, I would like to assure the public that we work closely with our partners in addressing road safety from an education and enforcement perspective.”
Jerry Herbert, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “Road safety will continue to be an important part of the Police and Crime plan whether we are in lockdown or not and we are pleased with the targeted enforcement as a response to community concerns.
“The Community Speed Watch scheme makes a welcome return at the end of the month supported by a new enforcement officer that has been well received by the volunteers to add some weight to their fantastic activity.
“I’d stress the majority of road users do so legally but the Force will continue to work with our partners from the local authorities, Fire and Rescue Service and Highways England to address the issues that have been highlighted by this activity to ensure safe roads across the county.”
If you are suspicious of someone is breaking the law, then please call 101 and give as much information as possible, including the driver’s details or description, their car registration.
If you believe that a crime is being committed and somebody is already behind the wheel then please call 999.