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Hundreds of arrests made and cars seized in county-wide roads policing operation

Written by on 22 September 2020

Almost 200 arrests have been made and 1,600 vehicles stopped in a three-week road policing operation in Staffordshire. Officers also seized 249 vehicles for various offences.

Operation Lightning was set up to tackle criminals using the road network and to prevent increases in the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.

The operation, which ran at locations across the county and concluded in Tamworth yesterday (20 September), involved high-visibility patrols, unmarked patrols, covert patrols and drones, motorcycles equipped with speed detection and video recording equipment and mobile safety camera vans. A fixed-wing aeroplane also took to the skies above Stoke-on-Trent.

The operation began on 1 September and included a focus on the ‘fatal four’ motoring offences that are major causes of death and serious injury on the roads – speeding, mobile phone use, drink and drug use and not wearing a seatbelt.

Officers have dealt with a range of offences and stopped 1,583 cars and made 191 arrests.

In total, 684 drivers were reported for multiple vehicle offences, 753 for speed offences and a further 975 will receive advisory letters from our community speed watch partners.

There have been 249 vehicle seizures for varying offences which were disclosed such as drivers using vehicles that were in a dangerous condition or without insurance or an MOT.

There have been 65 positive breath tests and 37 positive drug swipes.

The decision by the Staffordshire Commissioner earlier this year to increase council tax funding for policing has enabled the force to make further investments in improving its capacity and capabilities to disrupt criminality and tackle the issues which matter most for local communities, delivering improved outcomes.

The operation was run alongside partners including the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG), Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership and the Community Speed Watch Scheme.

Chief Superintendent Elliott Sharrard-Williams, Head of the Operational Support Directorate, said: “Operation Lightning gathered momentum and has achieved great results with support from volunteers right through to specialist police teams such as dogs and firearms.

“We used a variety of tactics to assist us in cracking down on offenders using the road network and have seized hundreds of cars and made many arrests – including drink driving, possession of controlled drugs and numerous other offences – to ensure our roads networks are safer.”

He added that driving under the influence of drugs was a continuing problem the Force would be targeting.

“Operation Lightning runs throughout the year – and we’re already making further plans – as this intensification has helped us to tackle criminality on our roads and to prevent serious road traffic accidents and protecting local communities from harm.”

Chief Superintendent Sharrard-Williams added that the Force had set up a dedicated roads policing capability to enhance existing capabilities through increased enforcement and the use of new technologies such as drones and off-road bikes. This is in addition to the extensive education programmes delivered by our partners in the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership.