The combined efforts of Essex Police Force, Trading Standards Officers and officials from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) put the drivers of Clacton- on –Sea under scrutiny this week and unfortunately not everyone passed!
Operation Surround a Town came to Clacton on Wednesday as part of Essex County Council’s long running No Excuse campaign directed at errant motorists. The campaign’s aim is to let motorists know that offences like driving without a seatbelt, speaking on a hand held device and speeding can all impact gravely on other people’s lives and that law enforcers in Essex will not tolerate such behaviour.
At least 40 police officers were deployed at various locations throughout the town and Trading Standards Officers and VOSA officials boosted the numbers at check points. In a few short hours the operation, which also utilised vehicle recognition cameras, managed to nab a large number of motorists for an unbelievably long list of offences; including a man wanted for threatening to kill someone in nearby Waltham Abbey and several people wanted for drug offences.
In all the team managed to charge motorists for breaking over 20 different offences on the day with the number of drivers brought to book running into the hundreds. The most common offences included 98 apprehended not wearing a seat belt, 32 drivers were caught using a mobile phone and 21 vehicles did not possess a valid MOT certificate. 60 of the drivers caught driving without a seat belt took the option of attending a road safety training course rather than pay a £60 fine, but this was not a choice given to six drivers caught driving without motor insurance. In fact they had the vehicles seized by the authorities and must now wait to be contacted at a later date.
Derrick Louis, county councillor and cabinet member for highways and transportation, had no sympathy for those caught, saying “The Surround a Town days continue to give us and our partners the opportunity to talk to drivers about the most common causes of accidents and make them aware of their driving behaviour. Today we have spoken to more than 400 people at various sites around the town about the importance of road safety. Whilst some drivers continue to put themselves and others at risk we will continue to target those individuals and work to make our roads safer.”