Over 170 offences detected during operation using HGV supercab   

Police in Suffolk stopped almost 150 vehicles and detected more than 170 offences as part of a week-long operation last month, primarily focused on heavy goods vehicles, but also detecting any offences committed by all other motorists.


Operation Tramline saw police provided with an HGV tractor unit by National Highways, which allowed officers to carry out patrols across the county’s strategic road network and focus on offences committed by lorry drivers.  


The initiative took place between Monday 21 November and Friday 25 November and involved officers from the Commercial Vehicle Unit, the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, Road Casualty Reduction Team, with enforcement taking place on the A14, A12, A11 and A47.


The HGV tractor unit - which was driven by a police officer - provides an ideal vantage point meaning officers can look directly into the cabs of other lorry drivers, whilst also dealing with any offending motorists driving vans or cars too. Supporting police officers are then on hand to pull-over any offenders.


A total of 148 vehicles were stopped, including 72 HGVs and 54 smaller goods vehicles.


173 offences were detected and the drivers in question were issued with Traffic Offence Reports (TORs), some having committed more than one offence. 


131 TORs were issued, with the primary offences highlighted below:


66 for not wearing a seatbelt

30 for using a mobile phone

33 for construction and use (roadworthiness offences)

10 for an insecure load

nine for driving without due care and attention

four for excess speed

three for not being in proper control

two for no insurance


Sergeant Scott Lee-Amies, of the Joint Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: "I would like to commend the officers in our Commercial Vehicle Unit who take the lead on these particular operations that we publicise, but it is important to highlight that they are actually out there doing this vitally important work 52 weeks of the year. 


“Although it is disappointing to have found a significant number of drivers offending when it comes to wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone and driving unroadworthy vehicles, these numbers (and offences overall) have reduced greatly compared to the previous operations.


“The CVU officers have reported that they have seen a vast improvement in overall driver behaviour since the unit was launched just over two years ago in November 2020. It appears that the message is getting across to drivers to put their seatbelts on and to leave their phones alone, as the unit has worked hard at enforcing and educating motorists in these offences.


“Our thanks once again goes to National Highways for providing us with the HGV tractor unit free of charge. This enables us to carry-out enforcement in respect of this group of road users, who are in control of the biggest and therefore potentially most dangerous vehicles on the roads.”


Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “Keeping our roads safe and the traffic moving, is vital for both residents and businesses in the county.


“The Port of Felixstowe is an international gateway and that means we have a huge amount of commercial traffic working its way across the county which needs to be monitored for dangerous vehicles and driver offences.


“Since its creation from the council tax precept investment, the Commercial Vehicle Unit has had some excellent outcomes and the results of this recent campaign speak for themselves. The team brings a specific expertise to our roads policing team, which is really making a difference.


"I find it absolutely unbelievable that drivers, who rely on their driving licence for their livelihood, would take such a cavalier attitude to their safety and the safety of other road users.  I hope the publicity around this recent campaign will make irresponsible drivers think twice before getting behind the wheel.”


Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator for National Highways in the East of England, Chris Smith, said: “When the majority of people get behind the wheel they drive safely and sensibly, but unfortunately a small minority think the rules don’t apply to them and their selfish actions endanger the lives of others.


“Working with our police partners in Suffolk, and using the unique perspective from the HGV, these individuals can be targeted with officers taking enforcement action where they believe it is appropriate.


“We use the HGV cab across the country as a means of highlighting bad habits that put other road users in danger. Whatever vehicle you are in, please think about your behaviour when you get behind the wheel and help us make sure everyone gets home safe and well.”

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