More than 50 arrests have been made and more than 50 vehicles seized in the first two weeks of our campaign to address road safety across Wiltshire.
Community concerns have been raised to us during the latest national lockdown and we have responded with an increase in proactive checks, alongside officers’ regular duties, to ensure those driving on our roads in Wiltshire are fit to do so and the vehicles being driven are legal.
In the first two weeks of increased activity (Jan 15 – Feb 1), we made 56 arrests, including 23 for drink driving offences and 25 for drug driving offences.
Speeding, which is one of the fatal four causes of increasing the chance of a collision ending in a serious injury or a fatality, has been highlighted as a concern of residents during lockdown, especially with the Community Speed Watch programme unable to run due to the restrictions.
We increased our patrols across the county and handed out 35 traffic offence reports for speeding, gave five fixed penalty notices and two drivers were summonsed to court.
A key focus has also been on ensuring the vehicles that drive on the roads in Wiltshire are safe to do so and we seized 56 vehicles, with 53 vehicles having no insurance, and stopped 12 vehicles that were prohibited from continuing to be driven due to them being deemed unfit to do so.
Driving without wearing a seatbelt is another of the fatal four and eight fixed penalty notices were handed out for this offence.
Assistant Chief Constable Deb Smith said: “Over the course of the two week period, we responded to 98 road traffic collisions in Wiltshire.
“It is our aim to not only reduce this number but to also ensure that we decrease the percentage of these that result in serious injury or, worse, a fatality.
“I hope this increased, proactive activity alongside the normal responsibilities of our officers goes some way to providing the residents of Wiltshire that we are doing all we can to ensure the roads they drive on are safe.
“We want to disrupt criminal activity, ensure safe speeds and safe vehicles on our roads and ultimately protect road users.
“I’d also like to remind drivers that during this lockdown people should only be driving for essential journeys and just because the roads may appear quieter, that is not an excuse to break the law.”
Jerry Herbert, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon said: “We understand the concern that many communities feel about the minority of road users who act dangerously. This is why we have reiterated the importance of road safety in our updated Police and Crime Plan.
“It is important to work with our partners from the local authorities, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and Highways England to address the range of issues on our roads.
“We also recognise that a number of drivers are taking advantage of quieter than usual roads to offend and we have asked the Chief Constable to increase the priority of targeted enforcement against this.
“The void left by the excellent work done by the Community Speed Watch programme was one that needed to be addressed.
“We are pleased with the work being done by officers to address the concerns of local residents and we hope the impacts are being noticed and felt.
“Road safety is incredibly important and these figures in just the first two weeks show just how significant it is for us to focus on this to take both dangerous drivers and vehicles off our roads and make Wiltshire a safer place to drive.”
This proactive activity will continue across Wiltshire during the lockdown and we encourage the public to raise their concerns with us.
If you are suspicious of someone is breaking the law, then please call 101 and give as much information as possible, including the driver’s details or description, their car registration.
If you believe that a crime is being committed and somebody is already behind the wheel then please call 999.