On Wednesday 5th June the North West Motorway Police Group launched Operation Coalition, a clampdown on criminal activity on the regions motorway network.
The Operation involved four North West Police Forces, the Vehicle Operating and Services Agency (VOSA), Department for Work and Pensions, HMRC, RSPCA, Trading Standards, Court Bailiffs, BT, Warrington Borough Council, Cheshire East Council and Lancashire County Council.
The complex network of motorways in the North West are used by thousands of people every day and officers from the North West Motorway Police Group are responsible for keeping the network safe for law abiding road users.
The nerve centre of the North West Motorway Police Group is the control room based in the Highway Agency′s Regional Control Centre just off the M6 at Newton-le-Willows. Staffed by a combination of officers from, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire Police operators at the control centre monitor a video wall which shows feeds from cameras positioned along the length of the network in the North West.
It was here that Operation Coalition was co-ordinated, with staff in the control centre organising response and deployment of officers to incidents and staff representing all the agencies involved in the day of action to identified check points on the network.
The day of action resulted in 7 people being arrested on the day for a variety of offences including possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply, assault and theft of three motor vehicles.
In total, 312 vehicles were stopped and 192 motorists were breathalysed. 111 road traffic offences were identified and 97 motorists received an on the spot penalty. In addition, 5 vehicles were stopped and searched by officers.
20 vehicles were also seized for being driven either without insurance or a licence or because they were being driven in an anti-social manner.
Superintendent Craig Thompson from the North West Motorway Police Group said:
"The day of action was the accumulation of many months of work. Coordinating a joint operation and involving a variety of agencies, we have really been able to bring the full strength of the law to bear on the network. The aim of the day was to highlight to everyone who uses the network the work undertaken by all the agencies involved to keep them safe and disrupt any criminal′s intent on using motorway network to conduct their illegal activity."
"The law abiding citizen′s that had their journeys interrupted or were spoken to at service areas understood why they had been stopped and supported what we were doing."
"The Operation delivered the right message to the right people which can clearly be seen by the number of arrests made on the day. Drivers have the right to use the motorway network without being concerned about their safety whether that relates to the illegal activity or organised crime gangs or illegal and unsafe drivers putting other people′s lives at risk."
"Anyone who drives on the regions motorways can be assured if they break the law officers from the North West Motorway Police Group will not tolerate their excuses."
"The motorway network in the North West plays a very important role in the region′s economy and it is vital that we keep the network safe for ordinary people to use and for those people in commerce and industry to be able to go about their day to day business without fear and in safety."