That was the reality for our dedicated Roads Policing Unit (RPU) on the Isle of Wight as they enforced poor driving standards on Wednesday 23 November.
PCs Mike Alchin and Andy Ball both have years of policing experience behind them, but took up new roles last month leading the newly-formed RPU.
They are bolstering the efforts of the Island’s pre-existing Roads Policing & Armed Response Vehicle teams (RP/ARV) who are dual skilled in firearms and roads policing tactics.
On Wednesday 23 November, the RPU and RP/ARV teams conducted Operation Wightwash – a two day period of enforcement activity intercepting drivers whose standards fell below the legal requirements. Wednesday alone saw a driver stopped and ticketed for an offence every five minutes.
This enforcement work rolled into Thursday where further offences were identified by traffic officers.
To provide additional support with this work, mainland-based RPU officers travelled to the Island to join in with the operation, bringing with them marked and unmarked cars and motorbikes.
In total across the two days, 89 tickets were given out to motorists across the Isle of Wight.
The majority of offences were for speeding, however drivers were also stopped for having no insurance, no MOT, and driving defective vehicles amongst other construction and use offences. 15 motorists were also ticketed for driving without a seatbelt.
During the op, officers arrested two motorcyclists on Wootton High Street on suspicion of drug driving. One was released with no further action, however the second rider – an 18-year-old man from Ryde – was released but remains under investigation while further enquiries are conducted.
Acting Superintendent Alex Charge said: “We are now the only district in Force that has its own dedicated Roads Policing Unit. PCs Alchin and Ball have already shown how committed they are to keeping our roads safer, and their achievements since stepping into their new roles only a short time ago speak volumes.
“It’s important to understand that while the current unit is made up of two dedicated officers, any officer on the Isle of Wight can and will be enforcing poor driving behaviours.
“We are also fortunate to have the very capable and proactive RP/ARV teams who regularly target drivers who display behaviours under the ‘Fatal Four’ banner. These are the four poor driving habits that often lead to serious or fatal collisions – drink/drug driving, driving without a seatbelt, speeding, and using a mobile phone whilst driving.
“It’s clear that the public have concerns around road safety and bad driving. I want the community to be reassured that we are really driving efforts to tackle this. We have purchased extra speed guns to assist in enforcement work, and you can expect to hear much more about what our officers have been up to on the roads.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, said: “When I was elected, Island residents told me they had concerns about road safety and bad driving. They told me it was a big worry for them, their family, their communities, and they felt it wasn't being taken seriously, with no specialist police team to target motorists who were putting other people's lives in danger.
"As Commissioner, I listened to these concerns and worked with the Constabulary to bring back this dedicated unit. Since being elected in May 2021, I have been committed to recruiting additional officers so that I can get the right resources in the right places.
"I am delighted to see the Roads Policing Unit on the Island finally in action and I look forward to seeing more and more proactive roads policing operations like Operation Wightwash to make the Island's roads safer.”
We continue to encourage members of the public to report driving offences, and concerns around driving standards, to police so we can identify the areas affected and take action to keep road users safer.