Arrests, fines, seized vehicles, failed eye tests and a car with no reverse gear - all part of Peterborough’s biggest road safety day

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Even while he is having his lunch there is no rest for PC Steve Godfrey as yet another driver not wearing her seatbelt pulls up right in front of him.

It is the third that morning, not to mention the motorists who are uninsured, parking illegally or found on their phone who have also come his way.

A vehicle seized by police in Millfield

A vehicle seized by police in Millfield

At the same as time as the ticket is written up to the driver who probably regretted visiting the Oundle Road Tesco, a photo flashes up on the phone of PC Craig Farrington of a car with nine cans of beer by the driver’s seat, most of which look empty.

The photo had been sent from another one of the teams on duty that morning who arrested the driver on suspicion of drink driving and possession of cannabis.

Earlier, an elderly lady had crashed her car while watching officers stop another vehicle. She then failed an eye check.

“We are trying to keep people safe,” insists PC Farrington. “If you don’t break the law you have no issues.”

It is a common complaint, police having no bobbies on the beat. But that isn’t a problem this morning (Friday, November 2) as the main roads of Peterborough are crawling with them.

Lincoln Road, Oundle Road, Thorpe Road, Eastfield Road - there are officers on all of them as part of Cambridgeshire police’s biggest ever road safety event which took place across the county, with more than 350 officers, PCSOs, staff and volunteers all getting involved.

Among those are PC Godfrey and Sergeant Justin Howard who started their day at Gunthorpe Primary School, which they said had been highlighted to police as one of the worst for school parking in the city.

Sure enough, both men step out of the school car park and onto Gunthorpe Road and there is a car parked on the zigzagged yellow lines.

It is zero tolerance today, so the first ticket of the morning is handed out. Two more soon follow on Haveswater Close, just outside another school entrance, where signs clearly state parking is not allowed.

As the officers approach a woman comes past telling them that a child had just nearly been run over.

Three parents, who do not wish to be named, tell the Peterborough Telegraph: “It gets ridiculous some mornings. It’s a nightmare.”

Assistant headteacher Chrissy Parker says parents are regularly reminded about parking.

“We encourage our children to walk to school as soon as they can,” she said.

“We used to send out letters, now we have a new system to encourage parents.”

PC Godfrey tells the PT: “There’s obviously an issue with people parking where they should not, and in dangerous places.

“This area has historically had problems with parking.”

The day of action delivers a few surprises, including one car which has no reverse gear.

There are speed checks and tyre checks, while an HGV is taken to secondary schools so pupils can learn about their blind spots and cycling/pedestrian safety.

The areas targeted during the day are based on data from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau on uninsured drivers.

And to prove the point even just by midday five cars have been seized because the drivers are uninsured.

So far today police across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have dealt with a total of 48 road traffic offences since the operation began at 6am this morning.

There have been:

. 15 people have been caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel

. 18 speeding drivers

. 10 people failing to wear a seatbelt

. Five who failed to stop at a red light.

In addition to this, 194 vehicles have been tested to ensure they are safe and roadworthy.

As well as issuing traffic offence reports, officers have issued 20 LIT (Lights instead of Tickets) scheme tickets to cyclists, which gives those who ride without proper lighting the opportunity to buy lights within a week to avoid prosecution.

Updates of the day of action have been shared across social media throughout the day with using the hashtag #Roadsafetyday.

The day of action will come to an end at 6am tomorrow morning (Saturday).

“Across Cambridgeshire last year there were 48 fatalities and 2,300 people injured in collisions,” added PC Farrington, who is in charge of the operation in Peterborough.

And as he pointed out: “If you don’t break the law you have no issues.”

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