Specials operation in town gets results

The Special Constables pictured during the operation in Blyth.

The Special Constables pictured during the operation in Blyth.

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Warnings and tickets were issued by Special Constables taking part in an operation in Blyth to target travelling criminals and unsafe drivers.

During the operation, which took place on February 11 and 12, the 23 volunteer officers from across the force set up three checkpoints at the main routes into the town.

As well as spotting any unsafe vehicles, they looked out for any one of the following offences being committed; using a mobile phone when driving, not wearing a seatbelt, drink or drug driving and speeding.

Over the two days between 10am and 4.30pm, the specials dealt with 251 motorists. Of these, they stopped and checked 195 vehicles, 11 drivers were given Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme warnings and told to fix their vehicles and make them safe, one driver was reported for having no licence or insurance and six drivers were issued with a ticket for offences including not wearing a seatbelt.

The Automatic Number Plate Recognition vehicles, staffed and monitored by special constables, were installed at the check sites and were used to identify suspect vehicles that were then stopped at one of the checkpoints in the area.

The drivers of these vehicles were then spoken to, with any appropriate action taken.

Special Constable Neil Patton was in charge of the operation.

He said: “I’m really pleased with the efforts of all our specials – they’ve done a great job serving the community and helping to keep the roads around Blyth and elsewhere safe.

“By tackling these issues in our towns, we help to improve road safety for all road users and deal with matters that we know our communities are concerned about.

“Our partnership work with Northumberland County Council was also worthwhile and its contribution was very welcome.”

The specials worked alongside county council licensing officers, who were out checking taxis. Together, they helped to educate taxi drivers around the safeguarding of vulnerable people they may come across during their line of work.

Between them, the volunteer officers gave up just over 300 hours of their time during the weekend.

Superintendent Andy Huddleston said: “I’ve been extremely impressed by the quality and results of this operation, which was planned and carried out solely by our volunteer constables, including the radio despatcher.

“Their hard work and dedication to duty despite the appalling weather conditions over the weekend was truly remarkable.

“Once again, they have demonstrated that their work is of the highest quality and a real credit to the force.”

Coun Liz Simpson, chairman of the Safer Northumberland Partnership, said: “This was an excellent initiative that not only demonstrated the great value of special constables in Northumberland, but contributed greatly to keeping people safer on our roads and in our communities.

“Northumberland County Council licensing officers checked 72 taxis over the course of the weekend and it was extremely encouraging to find only very minor issues highlighted and none which related to public safety.”

For more information about becoming a Special Constable, visit careers.northumbria.police.uk/special-constabulary.html