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Drink, drugs, ammunition, tailgating and speeds of 126mph as thousands get caught in Gloucestershire’s Police crack down on A417/419

Well over 1,000 speeding offences have been recorded with the worst offender clocked at 126 mph.

Tailgating, use of a mobile phone, vehicle plate offences and failure to use a seatbelt are among the other offences recorded.

But it has not only been about enforcement. Police officers have been on hand to give assistance to 10 drivers who broke down and another 10 who needed help for other reasons.

The operation is centred on the A417/419, a major strategic route carrying up to 35,000 vehicles a day which links Gloucestershire with neighbouring Wiltshire and is a pathway between the M4 and M5 motorways. It also has one of the worst accident records.

With Gloucestershire Constabulary due to take back control of local roads policing in April 2019, it’s the sort of operation that I want to see repeated more often.

This is not about bashing the motorist. I’m just as pleased to see police were there to help drivers in trouble as well as being able to challenge those breaking the law. 

Many people have come to me with their concerns about speeding and other safety issues along this road. This is a new model of collaborative roads policing which, if it proves a success, can be put into practice elsewhere.

“My Police and crime plan has always been about creating a change of culture on our roads. Making them safer, naturally, but also affecting the way drivers relate to the law and each other.

With our current Tri-force arrangement with Wiltshire, Avon and Somerset coming to an end next year, local roads policing will return to local control, giving us the opportunity to do that.

Op Indemnis stats:

The camera was deployed at 35 different sites along the A417 during November:

  • 1,293 speeding offences were detected, of which 10 were speeding at 100mph or more (highest 126mph)
  • 32 other offences detected including 5 tailgating (due care), 1 mobile phone usage, 19 vehicle plate offences and 7 seatbelt offences.
  • Drivers given education/warnings/advice: 52
  • Positive Breath Tests: 1
  • Positive Drugs Wipe: 1
  • Vehicles seized (No Insurance)6
  • Vehicles seized (No Tax): 6
  • Traffic Offence Reports: 7
  • VDRS: 1*
  • Suspected Insurance offences (pending): 2
  • RTCs attended: 3
  • Drivers assisted (breakdowns): 10
  • Drivers assisted (other): 10
  • Drugs Seizure: 1
  • Ammunition and offensive weapon seizure: 1
  • *VDRS – Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme (when you’re given a period of time to  correct a fault on your car)E

The case for change

‘Empire building’ and an “ego thing”. These are just a couple of the venomous accusations directed at me since I’ve challenged the current governance of Gloucestershire’s Fire & Rescue Service (GFRS).

I will say it again, here, just to make it clear: When I was elected as Police and Crime Commissioner, I never had any intention of overseeing the fire service as well.

Police have better things to do that catch motorists on the A417

News of the new super long range enforcement camera being used by Gloucestershire Police has gone viral and features in most national and regional news coverage and many trade magazines.

The A417 in Gloucestershire is notorious for all the wrong reason; a motorist being caught driving at a speed of 167mph, horrendous jams and delays, excessive pollution at the Air Balloon junction, dreadful noise from the concrete section and a lamentable accident rate and lives lost.

“Keep calm and carry on” is more than a slogan on a coffee mug

Fear is a debilitating emotion. Apart from stopping you doing things you want to do and fearful of doing things you can, it makes things seem worse than they really are.

As an example, just about every survey at the moment tells us that crime is on the increase. Media coverage which, inevitably, focuses on the worst examples – because that is what makes them out of the ordinary and therefore news – presents a pretty depressing picture.

A tale of two savers

It was Charles Dickens’ Mr Micawber who coined his own definition of contentment: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings and six pence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds, nought and six, result misery.”