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Traffic officers target speeders breaking COVID-19 lockdown

Five forces are working together to tackle motorists with performance cars taking advantage of the COVID-19 lockdown. An enforcement campaign is under way after speeds in excess of 140mph were recorded.

Traffic officers from Cheshire Constabulary, Lancashire Police, Cumbria Constabulary, Greater Manchester Police and Merseyside Police have started two-weeks of work backed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

Traffic officers across the country have reported some drivers and motorcyclists have used the massive drop in traffic to reach speeds of more than double the national speed limit.

The Metropolitan Police recorded a driver reaching 150mph, Kent Police have also raised concerns about excessive speed and Cumbria Constabulary is looking for a motorist who was clocked at 130mph.    

Chief Inspector of Cumbria Constabulary’s Roads Policing unit, Ben Swinson, said: “In recent weeks we have seen evidence of people using the quieter roads as an excuse to drive dangerously and at speed. Whilst the world might have changed, the speed limits and traffic laws have not. The county’s roads are not a race track.

“We have seen some particularly egregious examples in recent weeks, including a vehicle being recorded travelling in excess on 130mph on the A69. Driving recklessly puts yourself and other road users at an enormous risk of serious injury or death – and all at a time when the emergency services, and particularly hospitals, are under great strain.”

Phase two from the 25 May will see forces step up visible speed enforcement activity on roads and areas where speeding is known to be an issue or there is a history of serious collisions. 

Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, Roads Policing Lead for NPCC, warned there could be a rise in deaths or serious injuries: “Unsurprisingly, the lockdown saw very quiet roads.  Many forces reported increased speeding in a general sense and some forces reported instances of very excessive speeding.  

“We have seen an increase in pedal cyclists at this time, many of whom may be unfamiliar with busier roads. Pedestrians and runners have also got used to empty roads. Put this together with better weather, lighter evenings, motorcyclists itching to ride out across our country roads and you have the concerning combination of factors for a significant increase in people being killed or seriously injured.  I am determined for this not to be the case.”

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