Modern technology used to stop more than 60 vehicles in Sussex
Pictured: Sussex PCC Katy Bourne and Sussex Police ACC Steve Barry.
Modern technology was the focus of a multi-agency operation to crackdown on road-related crime in Sussex.
More than 60 vehicles were identified through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras as part of Operation Street, which ran from Monday 11 June to Friday 15 June.
These cameras flag up traffic offences such as driving with no insurance, as well as intelligence for criminality such as drug-dealing or a wanted person.
The operation was run by Sussex Police in conjunction with the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner and the DVLA, and supported by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, with three main objectives:
- To target vehicles being driven illegally (no tax, insurance, etc);
- To target and deny criminals the use of the roads (for transporting weapons, drugs, etc);
- To prevent crimes from being committed in the first place.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “It is encouraging to see that a number of lawless drivers have already been penalised for offences including driving with no insurance or tax, as well as potentially dangerous vehicles being seized for using Sussex roads to further their criminality.
“It is particularly reassuring that Sussex Police have used ANPR technology to proactively stop criminals on our roads, recovering a stolen vehicle and seizing a vehicle known to be associated with organised crime in Crawley.
“This operation has clearly been successful and it should give Sussex residents confidence as well as an insight into how our police keep us all safe on the roads.
“These initiatives serve as a warning to those flouting the law and potentially putting lives at risk that they will be caught.
“Visible, proactive policing really matters, especially on our roads, and I will be working hard with Sussex Police to ensure that these positive results continue.”
Approximately 62 vehicles were pulled over in Sussex for a variety of offences. This resulted in 17 seizures – one of which was associated with organised crime in Crawley – 24 traffic offence reports being issued and a number of verbal warnings for minor traffic offences. A further vehicle, which had been reported stolen, was recovered and returned to its owner.
The operation was also run in Surrey, with approximately 82 further vehicles being stopped in that county.
Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said: “Working together with the PCC, the DVLA and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, we were able to dedicate a number of resources to concentrate on road-related crime in Sussex. This varied from common traffic offences such as driving with no insurance or no tax, to more serious offences such as intelligence for drug-dealing or organised crime.
“While we were able to stop more than 60 vehicles in Sussex using ANPR, it’s important to note that this sort of activity occurs 365 days a year.
“We are committed to catching criminals and keeping people safe on our roads every single day, and anyone who compromises this will be dealt with robustly. Modern technology allows us to identify vehicles suspected to be involved in criminality, and if you fall into this category, it will only be a matter of time before the law catches up with you.
“We are delighted with how the operation went and we look forward to working with our partners again in the future.”
Neil Drane, Head of Enforcement Services at the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), said: “Joint operations such as these are invaluable, as a variety of road safety issues can be tackled and a clear message sent to the dishonest motorists and criminals on the roads: if you break the law, you will get caught.
“The time and effort dedicated to improving road safety by Surrey and Sussex Police, as well as from community leaders, is key in tackling the issues of uninsured driving and the MIB is fully committed to supporting further joint operations in the area.”
ANPR technology has been used by the force to positive effect on several occasions recently, including the following:
- On Friday 1 June, a stolen Range Rover activated an ANPR camera in Crawley Avenue, Crawley. Officers went in search of the vehicle but it made off at speed. It was later discovered crashed and abandoned in the area. With the help of a police dog and its handler, two gloves were located nearby and seized for forensics. The investigation continues.
- On Tuesday 12 June, a car was seized in Brighton for having no tax since May 2017 and no MOT since November 2016. The driver arranged for a relative to pick him up in his van, which also showed as having no tax since February 2018 and no MOT since June 2017. The van was also seized, and both drivers were left to walk home.
- On Wednesday 13 June, a white Volkswagen Golf was stopped in Lewes Road, Brighton, as intelligence showed it had been seen in suspicious circumstances a few days previously. Following a search of the vehicle and its four occupants, approximately 200 wraps of suspected drugs and three mobile phones were seized. All four people were arrested and released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Members of the public can submit reports of dangerous or antisocial driving via Operation Crackdown.