A day in the life of Roads Policing Unit near Harlow

Crime / Thu 10th Jun 2021 at 07:35am

FOUR drivers arrested and eight vehicles seized by Essex Roads Policing Unit whilst using the M11 in just one day.

“We’re not just here to catch speeding motorists and drivers without insurance, we’re much more than that. We’re here to arrest those who believe they can come into Essex and ply their criminal activities without being found out or dealt with.”

Adam Pipe, Head of Essex Roads Policing, wants criminals to understand that his team will deny them the opportunity to use our county’s road network to carry out criminality that causes the most harm to our residents and businesses, those who are going about their own lawful day-to-day activities.

“Disruption and deterrents, that’s what my team are about,” he said.

“They gather intelligence and put that to good use, 24/7, to target and stop vehicles that are using the road network for to carry out crime. Anyone that comes to our notice while travelling through Essex should be prepared to be stopped and spoken to.”

The Roads Policing Unit (RPU) patrol and proactively target criminals using our main roads.

Throughout each shift, officers travel hundreds of miles which gives rise to intelligence-gathering opportunities and interactions with drivers and their passengers.

In just one day, Thursday 27 May, the RPU arrested four people (three on suspicion of drug driving and one on suspicion of driving while disqualified) and seized eight cars.

In addition, four people were reported for offences rather than being arrested and a further 11 drivers were reported for traffic offences.

The first stop of the day came a few minutes after the team left their Chigwell base at 10.30 am. They didn’t have to go too far before finding a vehicle on the M11 that was of interest to another force in connection with a theft from a shop.

After stopping the driver to obtain his details, officers discovered the driver didn’t have a licence or insurance, so the car was seized, the man reported for those offences and then he was dropped off at the nearby train station to make his own way home.

The driver of a second car, a BMW, was followed off the M11 until the car came to a stop. The driver matched the description of someone believed to be concerned in an assault and the driver’s details were verified and passed to the investigating officer.

The first arrest of the day came as a result of information that a car that was acting suspiciously and on a previous occasion had failed to stop for police. Pre-empting this could happen again, one of the motorway cars zipped off further ahead of the car of interest, and within minutes, the “stinger” was set in place across all three lanes of the M11 and a rolling roadblock was put in place.

Fortunately, the device (which punctures the wheels of any vehicle that drives over it so that it comes to a slow stop) wasn’t needed on this occasion. Instead, the driver voluntarily stopped, but ended up being arrested on suspicion of drug driving and his passenger arrested in connection with a drug-related matter.

A car travelling along the M11 at around 12.30pm that day was a hire vehicle that someone hadn’t returned at the end of the hire period so was treated as a stolen vehicle. The vehicle was seized and the driver arrested after testing positive for drugs following a roadside drug test.

Later that same day RPU officers came across two disqualified drivers who both had their vehicles seized – one for vehicle defects that made the car too dangerous to drive – and a van that was reported to us as possibly being concerned in hare coursing in Essex. When the driver was stopped, there were dogs in the back – puppy dogs that were being trained to catch burglars, not hares!

Mr Pipe went on to say, “On top of this, the RPU works hard to prevent those who risk the safety of others on our roads through what is called the ‘fatal four’: drink and drug driving, dangerous or careless driving, driving whilst using a mobile phone and driving without a seatbelt.

“These are everyday things that could cause a collision within a split second and the road network comes to a standstill, and it will have long-lasting effects on the driver concerned and anyone that they hurt through that collision.

“But sometimes we are a welcome visitor for some drivers. We stopped a car that day whose plates had been reported as stolen. Luckily, it was the owner and the true car. Instead of being annoyed that he had been stopped, he was glad to see that our intelligence systems work and that left us with a happy customer!”

If you have information about someone using our roads to commit crime, a drink or drug driver, or someone endangering the safety of other road users please call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

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