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Dedicated roads policing teams return to Lincolnshire

Dedicated specialist roads officers are being brought back by a force to reduce fatalities.

Dual role teams are being disbanded to make road safety “of paramount importance,” Lincolnshire has announced.

The force has announced a new, dedicated roads policing department ending the dual function of the Armed Policing Unit.

Its new Roads Policing Unit (RPU) comprises two Sergeants and 18 PCs, based at two locations. Uplift recruits have enabled the decision.

The forces says it will give the RPU “a footprint across the county and vastly improve police visibility on our roads”.  

The decision follows a successful pilot at one base that started at Grantham in January 2022 and is now being extended to a second base at Louth. 

Chief Constable Chris Haward said: “The new team transform our roads policing capacity.  Road safety is of the utmost importance to the people of Lincolnshire and also to those who visit. Our aim is to make this county the safest place to live, work and visit. 

“Addressing the dangers that are inherent around road use by dedicating officers to this role will, I hope, have swift and meaningful results. Not only that, but by making sure that our RPU officers are the first port of call for anything relating to incidents on our roads frees up other officers to be able to deal with other priorities affecting our communities,” he added.

Safety campaigners, HM Inspectorate and the Police Federation have each raised concern about the decline in traffic officers that began during the first austerity era.

And the Department of Transport is look at why the number of traffic accidents on UK roads has remained high after years of decline.

Forces as well as the National Crime Agency are focusing work on the road network because it is an enabler of organised crime gangs (OGCs) involved in County Lines, people trafficking and other serious offences. 

Other forces have taken a different approach.

Nottinghamshire has combined armed policing with traffic officers in order to target violent offenders using the ANPR system as part of fast response work.

For Lincolnshire, with drivers covering 4.4 billion miles on a road network of 240,000 miles that is mainly in rural areas, the priorities are different.

Critical issues include theft of fuel, plant equipment and steel cables as well as drug driving and stolen vehicles.

All the new RPU officers will be trained to advanced driving standards, be trained in tactical pursuits and containment (TPAC), specialist traffic law, including HGVs, prohibition of vehicles and, the carriage of dangerous goods. 

The force’s Policing Plan has four main objectives:

The team will be deployed to any serious collision in the county, releasing response and neighbourhood officers to focus on incidents that are a priority in their communities.  Where they are the nearest and best resource available, they will attend any immediate incident to ensure the safety of the public and their colleagues. 

Chief Inspector Pat Coates, Specialist Operations, said: “Our new Roads Policing Unit is vital in keeping people safe on Lincolnshire’s roads because they will bring a new focus on keeping road users safe from harm. 

"Every serious collision we attend is a life changing event for those involved.  By engaging with road users, educating, and enforcing road traffic legislation, we aim to reduce the number of people who have their lives potentially devastated by a road traffic collision," he said.

“The team will support the work of their colleagues across the county in targeting criminals, removing opportunities for them to travel, and committing crime in our communities,” he added.

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