19 November 2012

Focus on... response officers in Roads Policing

A day in the life of…

Acting Sergeant Gareth Williams
31 years old  | Joined Roads Policing Unit four years ago

'This weekend, I was on an early turn (6am to 4pm) and a late turn (2pm to midnight). At the start of my shift, I checked over my vehicle and all the equipment we carry to make sure it was in good condition and working order.

'On Saturday, my team attended a number of collisions including at junction 4 on the M25 where some vehicles sustained minor damage. No one was seriously injured so we were able to quickly sort it out and send the drivers on their way. In Horsmonden, response colleagues dealt with an 82-year-old woman who was involved in a collision with two other vehicles but luckily no one sustained serious injuries.

'A tracker was activated on a vehicle, believed to have been stolen so I assisted in the search. Local officers found the car and luckily it turned out to be a false alarm.

'I headed over to Strood after receiving reports of nuisance trail bikes in the area. During my search, I stopped a 23-year-old rider causing a nuisance and issued him with a section 59 warning. This means if we see the vehicle being ridden in an anti-social way again, we can seize it.

'Back on the road, over the radio we received a report of a stolen van in the Medway area so I and three other vehicles attended to conduct an area search. Unfortunately we weren’t able to locate the vehicle but investigations are continuing.

'I was on routine patrols in Swanley when we received a call to go to junction 8 of M20 where some men were believed to be acting suspiciously. We searched them and on inspecting their vehicle, issued them with a vehicle rectification notice. We’d spotted some defects on their vehicle and the notice means they have to get these fixed immediately and inform us within 14 days. If not, the driver faces a court summons.

'The team also dealt with a prisoner, arrested for drink driving the previous night, who was subsequently charged with the offence and could face being disqualified from driving.

'Towards the end of my shift, I headed back to the office to hand over to the late turn sergeant.

'While on Sunday late turn, I received a report from some response officer colleagues that they were on a routine tasking in Medway when they stop checked a motorist, driving with no insurance. Officers seized his vehicle and he received a summons to appear at court. If he wants his vehicle back, the driver must attend his local station with all the required documents and then pay a penalty of at least £150 to the storage facility holding his vehicle. This fee increases every day for two weeks by which time, if the vehicle isn’t claimed, it’s sold.'

PC Chris Godden
29 years old  | Joined the Roads Policing Unit in April 2009.

'I was on early turn on Sunday (6am to 4pm) and while on patrol, came across an abandoned vehicle on A20 in Ryarsh. I carried out checks on the registered owner and found it had been left after a collision the previous night, so I arranged for a relative of the owner to recover the vehicle.

'An hour later, I attended a collision on A21. One vehicle was involved and the driver had to be cut from the vehicle before being taken to hospital. I later returned to the area to assist with traffic management after a second collision occurred in the tail back.

'Over in Sevenoaks, I stopped a car on Poll Hill where the driver was found to be knowingly driving with no insurance. I seized the vehicle and reported the driver for the offence.

'Near the end of my shift, I received a call after an intruder alarm and smoke alarm had been triggered at a commercial property in west Kent. When I got there, Kent Fire and Rescue Service were forcing entry to the property but it appeared to be a false alarm as no fire was found.'

About our Response Officers 
Based in Aylesford, our Roads Policing Unit officers cover the whole county, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in marked and unmarked vehicles.

Response officers patrol and deal with incidents on our major motorways in Kent. They also focus on taskings which means they’ll be deployed to an area to deal with a particular crime type or search for individuals we’re keen to speak to.

They provide vehicle related advice to officers across the county and are all advanced pursuit trained drivers.

The officers also respond to ANPR detections – their in-car equipment alerts them when the automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras are triggered if they detect a vehicle (or driver) we’re interested in.

Our vehicles and equipment
At Kent, our Roads Policing officers typically drive marked BMWs or Volvos - and they have some 4x4s for heavy-duty work!

The vehicles are well kitted out. The mobile terminals mean officer can look up people’s details and check their history while on the road. It is also linked to the ANPR alerts. All newer vehicles have video recording equipment and speed detectors which provide useful evidence, of pursuits in particular. Three speeding motorists were recently identified and prosecuted for speeding at more than 100 miles per hour. Check out the footage on our YouTube page.

The vehicles are also equipped with breath tests, speed guns, stingers and equipment for examining vehicles. They also have defibrillators as officers are often first on the scene of an incident and can give life-saving first aid.

Check out pictures of our vehicles and equipment on our Flickr page.

As well as being advanced-driver trained, our Roads Policing officers have a number of specialisms including:

  • tactical pursuit and containment – this is where officers use their cars to box in an offender’s vehicle to bring them to a stop
  • public order training
  • assessing driver hours, including HGV drivers
  • HGV class 1
  • vehicle examination and prohibition for both light and heavy vehicles

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