Special constabulary to make roads safer

AROUND 150 members of Suffolk's special constabulary will be joining their regular colleagues this weekend to help make the county's roads safer as part of National Specials Weekend.

AROUND 150 members of Suffolk's special constabulary will be joining their regular colleagues this weekend to help make the county's roads safer as part of National Specials Weekend.

The weekend is an annual event where thousands of volunteer officers across the country take part in dedicated patrols and operations based around a particular crime reduction issue. This year's theme is Roads Policing.

Across the weekend specials will join officers and staff from the roads policing unit, neighbourhood response teams and safer neighbourhood teams (SNTs) to carry out road safety enforcement checks, focusing on speeding, use of mobile phones, driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs or without insurance, and seatbelt use.

Special superintendent Dean Knight is organising the event in Suffolk. He said: 'Last year around 100 Specials took part in the national weekend, and to have an additional 50pc on patrol this year is fantastic.

'Throughout January specials have been trained to use speed guns and over this weekend many will be using them at locations identified by SNTs and members of the public as places where drivers use excess speed.

'Other specials will be stopping people who are committing other motoring offences, whether it be driving unroadworthy or uninsured vehicles, using a mobile phone whilst driving or drink or drug driving.

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'Some communities have highlighted to their SNTs concerns about anti-social vehicle use or parking problems. Specials will be focusing on these issues to improve quality of life for people living in affected areas. There will also be some work with Revenue and Customs and Trading Standards teams, to test vehicles and their fuel to ensure they are being operated within the law.'

Suffolk's head of roads policing, chief inspector Mike Bacon, said: 'As part of Suffolk RoadSafe, Suffolk Constabulary takes casualty reduction very seriously and I am very pleased that nationally the special constabulary has decided to put road safety top of its agenda too.

'With such a large team of officers dedicated to stopping offending vehicles, enforcing the law and educating motorists this weekend, I hope to make it clear that driving offences will not be tolerated. Drivers who offend make the roads dangerous for everyone - by using a mobile phone whilst driving, drinking and driving or speeding, you're not properly in control of the vehicle and it only takes a second to cause a collision and do some serious damage, to something or someone.

'Those specials working with the ANPR intercept team on Monday and Tuesday will also be targeting criminals who travel through the county.

'ANPR identifies vehicles involved in crime and the offenders who drive them. It also highlights uninsured vehicles which can then be seized.

'Often vehicles used in crime are uninsured, untaxed and unroadworthy - if we take these vehicles off the roads we limit the opportunities for their users to commit crime, as well as making the roads safer.'

Assistant chief constable Stewart Gull said: 'The special constabulary plays a vital role in policing Suffolk. Officers have full police powers and perform the same duties as regular constables, wearing the same uniform and using the same equipment, but give their time voluntarily and so national specials weekend is the ideal opportunity to highlight and praise their hard work and dedication. This operation will give our Specials the chance to develop their skills in terms of Roads Policing and casualty reduction, whilst helping to keep Suffolk safe for all road users.'

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