Police in the North West are joining forces to urge motorists to stop speeding following the lifting of some travel restrictions by the government.
Over the last few weeks there have been a number of incidents of unacceptable speed across the region as people took advantage of the quieter roads - with some clocking up speeds in excess of 140mph.
Following on from the individual speeding enforcement campaigns the forces have already been carrying out, Cheshire Constabulary, Lancashire Police, Cumbria Constabulary, Greater Manchester Police and Merseyside Police are joining together to urge motorists to slow down.
As part of a nationwide campaign, the five forces across the North West will be sharing a common goal as they continue to crackdown on speeding motorists. The two week-long campaign, which launches on Monday (18 May), is being coordinated by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) – with a warning from the North West that if you speed in the region, police will take action.
It is important that everyone realises that speed limits are in place for a reason.
Chief Inspector of Cumbria Constabulary’s Roads Policing unit, Ben Swinson, said: “In recent weeks we have seen evidence of people using the quieter roads as an excuse to drive dangerously and at speed. Whilst the world might have changed, the speed limits and traffic laws have not. The county’s roads are not a race track.
“We have seen some particularly egregious examples in recent weeks, including a vehicle being recorded travelling in excess on 130mph on the A69.
“We are expecting the roads to be progressively busier in the coming days and weeks and would urge everyone to drive with caution.
“Driving recklessly puts yourself and other road users at an enormous risk of serious injury or death – and all at a time when the emergency services, and particularly hospitals, are under great strain.”
Head of Cheshire Constabulary’s Roads and Crime Unit, Superintendent Jo Marshall-Bell, said:
“Officers will be out over the next two weeks looking for people speeding in the county. They are not doing this for the sake of it, they are doing it to save people’s lives.
“People are quick to say “police need to prioritise real issues”, “shouldn’t they focus on real crimes?” I want to stress that people are killed and seriously injured as a result of unnecessary speed, so this is, and quite rightly so, a priority for us.
“It is absolutely crucial we engage with and educate motorists on how to use the roads safely - and enforce the law when they are not. If you speed in Cheshire, we will take action.”
Chief Inspector Sue Bushell, of Lancashire Police’s Tac Ops Dept, said: “Road safety is always a priority for us as speeding can have devastating consequences. Sadly, across the North West there has been an increase in some people driving at excessive speeds, potentially putting themselves and others at risk.
“In Lancashire we launched Operation Manta Ray earlier this month to tackle those motorists who think they can use the roads as their personal racetrack. We will continue to act on the concerns our communities have raised.
“No matter how quiet the roads may be currently, the speed limit still applies.”
Superintendent Julie Ellison from GMP’s Specialist Operations Team said: “At all times road safety in and around Greater Manchester is of paramount importance as speeding can have devastating consequences – not only does it increase the risk of collisions occurring, but it can affect the severity of those that do take place and in the worst case scenario can be fatal.
“In this current climate, keeping the pressure off our emergency services is so important whilst they keep the public safe and well. If someone is speeding and they have a collision, this will take up vital resources including NHS, fire and the police.
“We have been extremely proactive in our crackdown of speeding drivers and we have dealt with a significant number of motorists since lockdown started. We expect the roads will start to get busier over the coming weeks and I want to reassure our communities that my officers are working tirelessly to track down these offenders who are using the roads as their own personal racetrack.
“We are working closely with our partners and the community to actively discourage them and would like to encourage the public to ensure they are reporting issues/ concerns in their local area so we can plan our traffic operations accordingly and make the best use of our available officers.
“Being part of this joint campaign with our other North West colleagues shows we are all working towards a common goal – to crackdown on speeding motorists, save lives and protect the NHS.”
Merseyside Police Roads Policing Inspector Carl McNulty said: “While the roads have been clearer than usual, we’ve prosecuted more than 100 people for speeding offences since lockdown began. Our officers remain visible on the road networks and we’re stopping people and enforcing driving laws as always.
“Don’t be complacent: there is no excuse for breaking the laws of the road, at this or any time. Driving at high speeds endangers the lives of those driving and those of other road users and pedestrians, and can put extra demands on our NHS.”
If prosecuted for speeding, the minimum penalty is a £100 fine and three penalty points.