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TV Traffic Cops and Interceptors legend to retire

TV Tim, the traffic officer who inspired a generation of Black Rats, is retiring.

The legendary traffic officer who became a star of two UK policing TV shows is handing back his patrol car keys for the last time.

PC Tim Scothern, known within South Yorkshire Police as TV Tim for his famous appearances on the first Traffic Cops documentary and Police Interceptors, is retiring after 30 years’ service.

His appearances between 2002 and 2012 showed the reality of roads policing and inspired a generation of officers to become traffic officers.

But the appearances on the TV series were only a small part of a successful policing career as South Yorkshire also paid tribute to his reputation within the force for ‘having the knack’ to catch some of county’s most wanted criminals.  

PC Scothern joined South Yorkshire Police in 1992 as a probationary officer and joined the response team in Rotherham once he had completed his training.  

He then joined the Operational Support Unit (OSU) as a traffic officer, where he was able to shine and excel in creating safer roads and intercepting those who use the road network to commit crime.  

And it was in that role where he was able to raise public awareness of roads policing when featured in Traffic Cops on BBC1 and Interceptors on Channel 5.  

His final role with the force was as an Intelligence and Tasking Officer overseeing and managing operational support services.

Among his successes was Operation Fuego, a multi-force collaboration which led to 130 arrests, £2 million worth of drugs being seized and the recovery of cars worth £1.2m.

He has also been a vocal critic of reductions in the number of traffic officers across the country.

Colleagues paid tribute to his achievements right up to the last day on the job.

OSU’s Roads Policing Inspector Craig Clifton said: “Tim has been an icon to roads policing for decades and will be a sad loss to the team.

“Even in his last days with the force, he has fought to stay on the streets, getting directly involved with pursuit management and supporting the roads policing function with fantastic intelligence products.” 

He added: “Only a couple of weeks ago Tim and I were sat with a stolen car when some of his fans came out for his autograph.”

Tim’s Supervisor DS Gareth Bryant said: “It was quite surreal for me when I become Tim’s supervisor 18-months-ago, as I, like many others, grew up watching him on Traffic Cops in the noughties.

“It is without a doubt watching police officers like Tim that inspired me to become one myself.  Supervising Tim has been an absolute pleasure. Even with the countdown to his retirement fast approaching he has not taken his foot off the gas and continued to show genuine dedication, enthusiasm and commitment to apprehending criminals and making South Yorkshire and its roads a safer place for everyone. 

As news of his exit from the frontline broke, officers took to social media to pay tribute.

One said: “I can hand on heart say he was certainly an inspiration and role model for me in the early '00s watching him on Traffic Cops.”

Another added:  “For me one of a short list of cops who only ever came over brilliantly on TV and who showed traffic or roads policing how it can be. Wish him all the best.”

But he isn't heading for a new life in the slow lane. The force revealed he is planning to develop a new career as a motorsports event planner and trackday instructor after his final day on 5 May.

Another of PC Scothern’s colleague PC Angela Selous said the force had gained hugely from his time with the force but there was one foible that never made it onto the nation’s TV screens.

She said: “One thing I can say about Tim is that he has always had a knack for catching the bad guys but SYP will not for a minute be saving any money on the ink stocks as he could never find a pen when it mattered.”

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