Lollipop ladies and men issued with body cameras to curb abusive drivers
PUBLISHED: 16:33 06 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:33 06 February 2020
Lollipop ladies and men in Suffolk are to be equipped with body cameras to catch "unacceptable" drivers who fail to stop for kids crossing the road.
Highways chiefs said that in the last six months alone there had been 19 incidents where motorists had just "driven through" while school crossing wardens were attempting to safely ferry children across the road at peak times.
Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said such behaviour, which has even included abuse being hurled from motorists, would not be tolerated.
"It really shouldn't be an issue at all if all motorists observed the Highway Code," he said.
"But an increasing number of people are ignoring the signs from the crossing patrols - it's unacceptable and it has to stop.
"It beggars belief that there are a tiny minority of motorists that have such a cavalier disregard for childrens' safety, and it's not acceptable."
There are 61 lollipop men and women across the county, who have reported an increase in abuse and incidents, with those around Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds likely to carry the cameras most frequently.
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Ten cameras have been bought by Suffolk Roadsafe partnership, which will be rotated around the county.
According to project bosses, the cameras cost £500 each have been funded from cash collected as part of speed awareness courses.
It will enable crossing patrols to record instances of motorists abusing wardens, or failing to stop for crossings of either children or adults.
That can then be used as evidence submitted to police, with those failing to stop at risk of prosecution, a fine of up to £1,000 and three penalty points on their licence.
Mr Passmore said that cyclists were not exempt from that either.
Andrew Reid, cabinet member for highways at Suffolk County Council which is one of the Roadsafe partners alongside the PCC and police, said: "It is outrageous that drivers are putting at risk the lives of school children by failing to stop when our patrol officers are escorting children across the road, and that some road users are being abusive towards our officers for doing their job.
"The use of body cameras will deter intolerable and abusive behaviour and can record any when it occurs.
"We are very confident having talked to other users and other councils that it will have a very positive effect on driver behaviour."