Operation Alliance: keeping Suffolk’s roads safe

Seven people were arrested, more than 100 vehicles were stopped and almost 80 Traffic Offence Reports were issued, during a multi-agency day of action in and around Ipswich.

The operation took place on Tuesday 6 December, with the aim of disrupting and frustrating the activities of criminals, including organised crime groups, who commit offences across county borders whilst using the road network.

This was intelligence-led and involved vehicles identified as being potentially involved in criminality being brought back to a check site at the Tesco truck stop, near to the A12/A14 Copdock Mill Interchange, where police and partner agencies conducted checks of the vehicles and occupants.

Officers also focused on all-round road safety and the fatal four offences of drink/drug driving, driving whilst using a mobile phone, speeding, and not wearing a seatbelt.   Anyone suspected of committing any of these offences was also stopped, along with people driving vehicles which were unroadworthy or had a defect.  All of these actions serve towards making the county’s roads safer and reduce the likelihood of someone being killed or seriously injured by an illegally/unsafely driven or defective vehicle.

Under the banner of Operation Alliance, the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team were assisted by Specialist Operations colleagues from across the Seven Force Collaboration Programme area, which comprises Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, and Kent. This was part of a three-day operation with a different county hosting each day.
They were joined by officers from the Road Casualty Reduction Team, Commercial Vehicle Unit, Police Dog Unit, Sentinel Team and Local Policing Team, along with police staff colleagues from the Modern Day Slavery Team, Trace & Detect drug officers and the Safety Camera Team.

Partner agencies present included the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC); Home Office Immigration Enforcement; the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS); Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA); Environment Agency; Babergh District Council Environmental Health Team; and CDER Group Debt Recovery.

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, who attended yesterday’s event, said: “I was extremely impressed to see at first-hand the scale of this operation based at the strategically important junction of the A14 and the A12 at Copdock. The team-working between the various agencies was quite remarkable.
“Keeping Suffolk’s roads safe and free flowing is important for both residents and businesses and our roads policing unit has a pivotal role in helping to achieve this. I really would like to congratulate them and the other agencies who contributed to make this operation such a tremendous success. The results really do speak for themselves.
“I fully support these multi-agency operations, they send out a strong, clear message to those who choose not to comply with the law and keep vehicles properly maintained that Suffolk Constabulary is on the case.”

Seven people were arrested, including a 55-year-old man from Ipswich on suspicion of possession of cannabis with intent to supply, driving without insurance and driving otherwise than accordance with a licence. A quantity of cannabis and cash were seized as a result of this arrest.
The other six arrests were as follows: five on suspicion of driving with excess drugs (three of whom provided positive indications for cannabis and two for cocaine); and a 23-year-old man from Harwich arrested on a warrant for failing to appear at court, after being charged with an assault on an emergency worker.
101 vehicles were escorted back to the check site, with just 18 leaving clear of any offences.
77 Traffic Offence Reports were issued, including: 15 for not wearing a seatbelt; 13 for an overweight vehicle; nine for an insecure load; six for no insurance; six for tinted windows; five for no MOT; five for registration plate offences; four for using a mobile phone; four for lights; two for dangerous condition; and two for no driving licence.
Six vehicles were seized and 11 vehicles in total were taken off the road for either insurance or condition offences. Fines totalling £3,000 were issued for overweight vehicles.
42 people were breathalysed for drink-driving – all of which were negative – and 13 people were tested for drug-driving, five of which were positive (as per arrest details above). The Safety Camera Team deployed to roads in the surrounding area, detecting a total of 35 speeding offences.
The DVSA issued eight immediate prohibitions – taking those vehicles off the road straight away – four delayed prohibitions and seven advisory notices. The DVLA clamped 12 vehicles for no tax and recovered £3,280 in fines.
The GLAA gathered a number of intelligence reports; NaVCIS made checks on all vehicles brought to the check sire; Immigration Enforcement made 70 checks; the Environment Agency checked 30 vehicles, issuing six waste advisory notices and one enforcement notices; HMRC dip tested 44 fuel tanks; and CDER Group executed 15 warrants, collecting fines of over £4,000 and seizing two vehicles.

Sergeant Julian Ditcham, of the Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “Once again this operation has proved its worth by the sheer number of offences detected – some of which were quite staggering.
“Alongside the obvious dangers posed by people who would risk the lives of others by drug-driving, we stopped vehicles whose loads were frighteningly insecure or that were so overweight, the damage they could have caused if involved in a collision doesn’t bear thinking about.
“The fact that over 80% of the vehicles stopped recorded an offence of some description demonstrates the targeted way in which we identify either drivers committing offences or who are linked to criminality, or vehicles that are not roadworthy or that are defective.
“We are grateful to our colleagues from across our own organisation, from our regional partners in the Seven Forces Collaboration Programme and all the other agencies for helping to make Operation Alliance so successful.”