Major Essex Police campaign takes place in Braintree

MORE than 400 vehicles were stopped and checked by police during a major operation in Braintree to increase road safety and reduce crime.

Operation Surround A Town on Wednesday, February 29 involved more than 40 police officers carrying out roadside checks and mobile patrols around the town.

The operation was also part of Essex County Council’s three-year No Excuse campaign to tackle motoring offences and raise awareness for offences such as speeding, driving while using a mobile phone, not wearing seat belts or driving without insurance or valid driving documents.

Offenders were identified by officers patrolling in cars or on motorcycles or through Automatic Number Plate (ANPR) technology and vehicles were escorted to check sites at Galleys Corner, Springwood Industrial Estate and in Cressing Road.

Speed checks were carried out at various sites around the town in response to local residents’ concerns about the behaviour of some road users.

Five vehicles were seized because the drivers were not insured.

A total of 149 traffic offences were recorded, mainly drivers using mobile phones, not wearing seat belts, having no MOT or speeding.

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Thirty-five of the drivers who were stopped for not wearing seat belts volunteered to attend a road safety training course instead of paying the �60 fixed penalty fine. Essex County Council road safety officers were also involved in educating drivers stopped for mobile phone and speeding offences.

Eight Community Speedwatch groups, run by local residents around the town, took part in the operation and monitored the speeds of a further 800 vehicles during the course of the day.

Officers from British Transport Police, HM revenue and Customs, UK Border Agency and the Environment Agency checked nearly 100 drivers and van and lorry loads for further investigations.

Essex Police’s casualty reduction manager, Adam Pipe said: “Our officers are involved in road safety operations every day but this was an operation on a much larger scale and concentrated on one town.

“It has demonstrated that by working with schools, the local community, the county council and various other agencies we can continue to take action against offending motorists and drive home the importance of road safety.”

County councillor Tracey Chapman, cabinet member for highways and transportation said: “Today’s successful campaign event in Braintree is part of a series of overt and covert operations as part of ‘No excuse’ a three-year campaign, as part of the Essex Casualty Reduction Board.

“Events like this give us the opportunity to talk to drivers about the most common causes of accidents and make them aware of their driving behaviour.

“Whilst some drivers continue to put themselves and others at risk we will continue to target those individuals and work to make our roads safer.”