Today sees the launch of our Roads Policing Unit (RPU), a dedicated team of officers who will proactively patrol the roads of Lincolnshire.
Their aim will be to reduce serious and fatal collisions, promote road safety, and to target criminals who use our road network to commit crime. They will support the county response including local policing, neighbourhood policing and criminal investigation too.
Recognising that safety on Lincolnshire’s roads is of paramount importance and in need of further investment a decision was taken by the Chief Constable in 2021 to develop a new, dedicated roads policing department. The role had previously been performed as a dual function of the Armed Policing Unit.
Through the Police Uplift Programme, we have established a Roads Policing Unit (RPU) comprising of two Sergeants and 18 Constables, based at two locations in Lincolnshire. This will give the RPU a footprint across the county and vastly improve police visibility on our roads. The first officers on the team started at Grantham in January 2022 and today sees the opening of our second base at Louth.
Our Force Roads Policing Plan has four main objectives:
- To achieve a sustainable reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured in road collisions
- To have the safest roads in the UK
- To make our roads a hostile environment for criminals
- To reduce the risk to road users through education, engagement and enforcement.
- Officers on the RPU will focus their time on meeting the objectives of this plan.
The team will be deployed to any serious collision in the county, releasing response and neighbourhood officers to focus on incidents that are a priority in their communities. Where they are the nearest and best resource available, they will attend any immediate incident to ensure the safety of the public and their colleagues.
Chief Inspector Pat Coates, Specialist Operations, said: “Our new Roads Policing Unit is vital in keeping people safe on Lincolnshire’s roads because they will bring a new focus on keeping road users safe from harm. Every serious collision we attend is a life changing event for those involved. By engaging with road users, educating, and enforcing road traffic legislation, we aim to reduce the number of people who have their lives potentially devastated by a road traffic collision.
“The team will support the work of their colleagues across the county in targeting criminals, removing opportunities for them to travel, and committing crime in our communities.
“By targeting drivers who are disqualified, drive without a licence or insurance, drive with defective vehicles, drivers who are unfit through drink or drugs, steal vehicles and those whose sole purpose is to commit crime, we aim to remove those offenders who cause the biggest threat on our roads.
All the RPU officers will be trained to advanced driving standards, be trained in tactical pursuits and containment (TPAC), specialist traffic law, including HGVs, prohibition of vehicles and, the carriage of dangerous goods. Some of the officers already bring years of experience in road traffic legislation, and the additional training will enable everyone in the team to effectively tackle issues that cause harm on our roads. In time, the team will bring long term benefits to improve road safety in the county.
The officers based on the RPU at Grantham, since January 2022, have already see some impressive results, such as:
- Four stolen vehicles recovered which was part of a larger operation around stolen Tipper Vans using a combination of intelligence-led policing and vehicle stop and search tactics.
- Offenders arrested for theft of fuel following pro-active policing in the rural areas.
- Organised criminals disrupted whilst trying to steal cable from the network.
- Over 300 traffic offence reports for motoring offences mainly concentrating on the fatal four offences (Speeding, Seatbelts, Mobile Phone, Drink/drug driving).
- Over 40 arrests in total for the team many of which involve traffic offences such as drink and drug driving.
- Over 20 vehicles seized for reasons such as no insurance or disqualified driving.
- Over 100 tickets issued as part of an operation targeting motoring offences on the A1 mainly involving HGVs and commercial vehicles.
- Attended and delivered inputs at local schools to raise the profile of roads policing.
- Assisted with Bike Safe, in partnership with the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership.
The population within our county is expected to continue to grow, there will be more road users, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and drivers using the network for business, recreational and essential commuting. We expect to see more older people travelling and a greater HGV presence. Nationally the trend is that the number of people being killed or seriously injured on the roads is on the increase.
In Lincolnshire, we also have seasonal issues with motorcyclists and increased volumes at certain times of the year. Criminals continue to abuse the road networks to aid their activity, including hare coursing and offences that affect our rural communities.
Our roads policing officers will provide a flexible resource to meet these challenges and will provide a roads policing function that, in a coordinated approach with partner agencies, will work to reduce road users being killed or seriously injured, bring offenders to justice, and target and focus efforts to deter, disrupt and enforce against those criminals who use the roads in Lincolnshire.
Officers will have a mix of marked and plain cars and bikes to patrol and will be tasked during their time on patrol using analytical data and will carry out intelligence-led patrols to achieve the aims of our Roads Policing Plan.
The Safer Roads Team, made up of Special Constables, will now become part of the Roads Policing Unit. The team, formed in May 2018, have worked to combat the Fatal-four offences of drink and drug driving, mobile phone use, speeding and seatbelt use. They receive enhanced training in roads policing duties and driving. Their experience and dedication will bring more capacity to the team, and working alongside their full-time colleagues, they will increase the capability of the unit.
Chief Constable Chris Haward said: “The new team transform our roads policing capacity. Road safety is of the utmost importance to the people of Lincolnshire and also to those who visit. Our aim is to make this county the safest place to live, work and visit. Addressing the dangers that are inherent around road use by dedicating officers to this role will, I hope, have swift and meaningful results. Not only that, but by making sure that our RPU officers are the first port of call for anything relating to incidents on our roads frees up other officers to be able to deal with other priorities affecting our communities.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones said: “With the support of council taxpayers in Lincolnshire, the Police Uplift Programme and careful financial planning, my long-standing ambition to see the creation of a dedicated roads policing team has now become a reality.
“The Roads Policing Unit will reinforce efforts to reduce the number of serious and fatal collision – as well as targeting offenders who use our roads to travel into the county to commit crime.
“The Chief Constable and I listen carefully to our communities, when asked, road safety is one area that always comes high on the list of priorities. This new team will enhance the work already being done to keep communities and residents safe in the county.”
Follow the team on Twitter @LincsPoliceOps.