From the evening of Monday 12th December and into the morning and afternoon of 13th December 2016, roads policing officers from Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset police took part in a day of high profile activity concentrated on Plymouth’s city centre roads and the A38 corridor from Plymouth into Cornwall.
106 offences were detected during the short, intensive operation.
Operation Allied Wolf was a joint operation which saw officers working together as part of the Strategic Alliance between the two police forces, alongside staff from the D.V.L.A. and H.M. Revenue and Customs.
The operation employed liveried and un-liveried roads policing vehicles equipped with automatic number plate recognition equipment (ANPR) to observe vehicles and identify drivers committing offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988. This allowed officers to immediately identify criminals who making their way to the area.
An unmarked HGV lorry cab was also used, giving officers a bird-eye viewpoint of drivers committing offences such as using mobile phones while on the move.
Police targeted a number of offences including what are known as the “fatal four”.
The fatal four are driving behaviours that are shown to cause fatal and serious injury collisions. These are drink and drug driving; using mobile devices behind the wheel; inappropriate speed, and not wearing a seatbelt.
40 drivers were identified committing an offence by using their mobile phones behind the wheel.
13 vehicles were seized because the drivers were uninsured.
There were two arrests for drug driving and 12 vehicles were banned from the road for being unroadworthy.
A 17 year old tractor driver on the A38 had his license endorsed and was given a £100 fine for using his mobile phone to check Snapchat while driving. He was caught by officers using an unmarked car.
On the morning of Tuesday 13th, a dozen drivers were given verbal advice for driving with alcohol in their system, although when tested they were under the legal limit, classic cases of “the morning after”.
Chief Inspector Adrian Leisk, Head of Roads Policing, Alliance Operations Department explained: “The overall aim of Operation Allied Wolf is road casualty reduction, at the same time helping to minimise crime and traffic related incidents in the area.
“We particularly focused on drivers who may have been impaired through drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Drivers must understand that if their judgement is impaired because of these factors, then being “under the limit” will not prevent them from being arrested and possibly prosecuted.”
“It takes one hour to process one unit of alcohol. If you’ve been out and had a lot of alcohol to drink late into the night and are thinking of driving the next day, you do the maths. It’s not worth the risk to yourself, other road users and pedestrians.”
Vehicles suspected of offences were escorted to one of two “stop sites” where they were inspected by the D.V.L.A. and H.M. Revenue and Customs.
Chief Inspector Leisk said: “Operation Allied Wolf proved itself to be a very effective tool for improving road safety and also for providing an excellent opportunity to educate road users about unacceptable driving behaviours.”
“At any time of year, and especially at Christmas, Alliance Roads Policing officers are vigilant and determined to drive down crime and poor driving on the regions roads. We urge the public to play their part in keeping our roads safe by driving within the speed limit, always ensuring they are fit to drive, wearing seat belts and not being distracted when driving.”
The unmarked HGV lorry cab
Over the past 16 months, almost 2,700 drivers have been stopped for unsafe driving by a HGV cab, loaned by Highways England to police forces across England. It was used during Operation Allied Wolf to great effect.
Anthony Thorpe from Highways England’s Incident Prevention Team said:
“The vast majority of drivers pay attention when they’re on a motorway but a minority are putting themselves and others at risk by not driving safely.
“We’ve been loaning out the HGV cab to police forces to help improve safety and are delighted that the initiative is making a real difference and protecting motorists.
“It’s astonishing and worrying that drivers have got into bad driving habits and are using their mobile phones, watching DVDs or even boiling a kettle while driving.”
Since the safety scheme began in April 2015 and up until October 2016, 3,494 offences have been spotted (not counting results from recent operations in Devon and Cornwall). Nearly half related to the unsafe use of mobile phones, and over a fifth involved drivers not wearing seatbelts.
A total of 25 police forces took part in the HGV safety cab initiative during its first 16 months. Officers gave verbal advice to 247 drivers, issued 693 fixed or graduated penalty notices, and filed 2,186 traffic offence reports – usually requiring drivers to attend a driver education course. There were also 34 prosecutions for more serious offences.
Reasons for stopping drivers included:
Using mobile phones – 1,663
Not wearing seatbelts – 749
Not in proper control of vehicles – 173
Speeding – 160
Driving under influence of drink or drugs – 7
Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News