24th August 2023

Launch of new roads policing structure in Lancashire puts OCGs in firing line

Criminals who use our roads for serious and organised crime have found themselves in the direct firing line of a brand new Lancashire policing team.

In June, Lancashire Constabulary’s roads policing department underwent a major re-model, which resulted in the creation of two new teams, one of which – the Roads Crime Team – has been set up solely to tackle offences such as drug-couriering, money laundering, burglary, human trafficking and other serious offences where the road network may be used.

Since June 19th the team has already:

  • made 92 arrests
  • recovered 60 stolen vehicles
  • seized £144,000 in cash
  • recovered £208,000 worth of drugs
  • assisted several other forces, with our ANPR cameras helping us quickly locate vehicles entering the county which are linked to criminality

And more specifically this includes:

  • intercepting a Mercedes that was sighted in Blackpool. A pursuit ensued and over 7kg of cannabis was recovered
  • pursuing a vehicle in the Nelson area and subsequently searching the driver and finding drugs. A subsequent house search turned up around half a kilogram of heroin
  • stopping a vehicle on the M6 and locating a quantity of cash in a carrier bag, believed to be in excess of £70,000
  • stopping two men who were using fake identity documents. One has since been imprisoned for 20 months and the other is awaiting sentence.

The second of the new teams to be created is the Roads Policing Unit (RPU), which is dedicated to patrolling Lancashire’s roads and dealing with ‘fatal five’ offences such as speeding and drink or drug-driving, as well as attending scenes of serious and fatal collisions.

Since the changes were implemented the RPU have:

  • issued 1516 traffic offence reports
  • issued 121 section 59 warnings
  • seized 184 vehicles for no insurance
  • dealt with 301 road traffic collisions
  • made 152 arrests for drink or drug-driving

Both teams are aligned under the Specialist Operations (SpecOps) banner.

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden said: “Targeting dangerous drivers is one of my Fighting Crime Plan priorities as it comes up time and time again as a huge concern for our communities.

“Thanks to the Government’s uplift programme, the Constabulary now has dedicated officers in two teams, both with a clear focus on targeting dangerous drivers, which is already yielding results with seized cash, cars and drugs, and arrests for serious offences such as drink and drug driving.

“There is a poetic irony that cash taken out of the pockets of criminals, is then reinvested back into communities through my Safer Lancashire Neighbourhood Fund, supporting projects aimed at reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.

“The message is clear, if you’re a criminal using the roads, or you recklessly put yourself or others at risk, whether on our motorways, town, or country roads, you’ll be stopped and feel the full force of the law.”

Assistant Chief Constable at Lancashire Police, Pete Lawson, said: “These changes come as a direct result of feedback from our roads policing officers, who told us what changes they wanted to see to enable the department to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.

“We know members of the public are rightly infuriated by dangerous driving and people who put others at risk on the roads, and we will continue to deal with this as a priority. However we now also have a new team which will be dedicated solely to bringing down those involved in serious criminality too.

“The results so far speak for themselves and we hope they send a message to all criminals – whether they are drug-driving or bringing drugs into the county – that we are determined to root them out and will not stand for them causing misery in our communities.

“It is a priority to make our roads even safer for the majority of law-abiding motorists.”

To assist the changes we have been taking delivery of a range of new high performance vehicles, fitted with the latest law enforcement technology to help us target criminals.

ACC Lawson added: “The new vehicles are already out on the road but we will be taking delivery of more over the coming months.”

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