Road offenders ‘blatant and easy to catch’ says Cambridgeshire police superintendent after hundreds caught in biggest day of action

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Road offenders were “blatant” and “easy to catch” according to a Cambridgeshire police superintendent who believes the force’s biggest day of road safety action proved a success.

More than 800 motoring enforcements were handed out over a 24 hour period starting from Friday morning, including 534 for speeding, 25 for people using a mobile phone and seven for people going through a red light.

A car being seized in Millfield

A car being seized in Millfield

Much of the enforcement action was in Peterborough, where police seized several vehicles, handed out tickets outside a primary school and even arrested someone who was found with nine beer cans in his car.

Superintendent James Sutherland, who ran the operation across the county, said: “We’ve never done anything this big before for road safety.

“I think it’s made a big impression. All the evidence suggests enforcement changes driver behaviour.

“Five-hundred and thirty four people who received points or are going on speed awareness courses will probably regulate their speed.

“Operationally we achieved all of the goals that we wanted to. The education stuff went really well - we visited more than 30 schools and nurseries.

“We will only know if it’s effective in the long run. I’m very happy with how the day went. There were about 19 different agencies - it’s very likely we will do something like this again.

“What I find very striking is just how routine and blasé people have been about their driving. It was not hard catching people on their mobile phones - it was absolutely blatant.

“It was extraordinary how easy it was to catch people.”

More than 350 officers, PCSOs, staff and volunteers took part in the event, including Special Constables, police cadets, neighbourhood officers, road policing officers and representatives from a number of charities and local organisations.

Last year in Cambridgeshire 48 people were killed, 436 were seriously injured and 2,307 were injured in collisions.

Supt Sutherland said the idea for the operation came after seeing a rise in deaths and serious injuries from road crashes.

He added: “We probably started the initial planning about three months ago. The last six weeks has been quite intense planning.

“Everyone was doing it on top of their day job. Normally with something this size you have dedicated planning.

“There were 48 people killed on our roads last year. More than 400 seriously injured. It’s not a trend but it looks like it’s going in the wrong direction.

“I thought we needed to give it more focus.”

As well as the hundreds of speeding fines, 260 Lights instead of Tickets (LITs) were handed to cyclists which gives those who ride without proper lighting the opportunity to buy lights within a week to avoid prosecution.

In addition, 25 people were dealt with for not wearing a seatbelt.

On the 534 speeding offences, Supt Sutherland added: “That’s not a normal number - that’s a lot.

“We particularly focused on being in rural areas as far as possible to catch people doing rat runs through villages.

“We did night time speed enforcement - Special Constables were in villages overnight until 5am and caught some people.

“There were 40 eye sight tests on the roadside - it was the first time we’ve done this in the county. One person failed and lost their licence.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire Jason Ablewhite said: “Far too many people have been killed or seriously injured on our roads. I hope that drivers and cyclists alike took notice of the advice provided during last Friday’s 24 hour operation.

“It was an important opportunity for us to emphasize the dangers we all face on the roads. However, keeping people safe remains business as usual for police officers every other day of the year.”

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