Operation Mile: Policing teams on the Isle of Wight pursue new initiative to tackle road-related offences
Main article content
Policing teams on the Isle of Wight are embarking on a new co-ordinated initiative to keep the Island’s roads safer.
Operation Mile will see Neighbourhood teams (NPT) and Response & Patrol (R&P) teams across the Island each given an individual stretch of road where there will be additional dedicated patrol activity and enforcement work.
The allocation of roads will be intelligence-led, looking at data surrounding our hotspot areas for serious collisions and dangerous driving behaviours, and utilising the ever important information provided to us by the public.
Inspector Matt Gooding said: “We know how much of a concern driving standards on the Island are to the public. Isle of Wight police receive lots of calls and reports relating to road matters, which range from our most serious ‘Fatal Four’ driving behaviours – drink and drug driving, driving without a seatbelt, driving whilst using a mobile phone, and speeding – to anti-social issues such as vehicle noise and nuisance. This is in addition to our response to collisions on our roads.
“We have recently brought on board our two new dedicated Roads Policing officers, who are already doing a fantastic job alongside their dual skilled armed response and roads policing (RP/ARV) colleagues to proactively take action against road users who pose a risk behind the wheel.
“Road safety is much broader than this still, and requires a collaborative effort from all of our police colleagues as well as our partners.
“Incorporating teams such as NPT and R&P into the roads policing picture allows us to improve our effectiveness at targeting bad drivers, whilst having a greater visible presence in problem areas to deter motorists from continuing their bad habits whilst driving.
“It’s important for the public to understand that whilst NPT and R&P will be providing support to our roads policing priorities, this does not mean that they will be neglecting their other workloads or response to other crime types. These teams still have very important roles in working alongside our communities to address crime trends, and also to respond to emergency calls. That will not change and will not be impacted by this new initiative.
“What will happen is that officers will spend more time out in hotspot areas whilst they continue to manage their other priorities. For example, if an officer is required to conduct some administrative work after responding to a call for service, they will be expected to do this remotely whilst parked up in a hotspot area as opposed to returning to the office. This will allow them to maintain a longer presence out on the road, and thus deter or respond to any road-related crimes in that area.
“With more teams putting greater focus on our roads it also enables us to get a much fuller picture of which areas are impacted by bad driving. There is often a perception in the community of which areas are the worst impacted, but our intelligence gathering and patrol activity will provide us with a much more accurate understanding.
“It’s so important that the public continue to report their concerns to us and any crimes they have witnessed.
Lewis Campbell, Road Safety Officer for Isle of Wight Council, said “Having additional officers involved with important Roads Policing activity means a wider coverage of traffic-related enforcement activity across the Island. Not only does this act as a deterrent, the initiative brings a renewed awareness for road users that poor driving standards can have serious consequences for themselves and their communities. We’re grateful for our police colleagues efforts and welcome the additional enforcement which, alongside our awareness campaigns such as Project Pictogram, helps to save lives.
Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones said: “I welcome this new initiative to improve safety on the island’s road network. I know how important road safety is to residents which is why I ensured a dedicated Roads Policing Unit was brought back to the island.
“It’s great to hear that not only will response and neighbourhood officers will be joining forces with the new unit to crack down on bad driving and make the roads safer, they will also be improving police visibility in your communities. As Commissioner, this is one my top priorities in my Police and Crime Plan, alongside increasing police numbers.”