West Midlands Police get on ‘Top Deck’ to catch motorists on their mobile phones while driving
Written by Tristan Harris on September 22, 2018
WEST Midlands Police have a new way of catching drivers who use their mobile phones at the wheel.
As part of Operation Top Deck, plain clothed officers wearing cameras board buses and sit upstairs so they can look down on drivers and catch them using their phones to call, text or browse the Internet.
Information is then radioed to police bikers who divert offenders to a designated site where they speak to them about their actions and show them a hard-hitting virtual reality video, highlighting the potentially devastating consequences of using your phone whilst driving.
It has been brought in by the force in conjunction with National Express and Transport for West Midlands and it coincides with National Mobile Phone Week which ran from Monday to yesterday (Friday).
One man was caught using his phone while en-route to a speed awareness course, while a woman was prosecuted for driving without due care and attention after officers found her eating from a bowl of cereal in her lap.
A disqualified driver was also pulled over and arrested.
PC Hodson, said: “The launch run was really successful – and have shown that despite all the warnings and public safety messages there are still drivers who can’t resist picking up their phone at the wheel.
“Most offenders were reading or sending text messages…being online and staying in touch seem to get in the way of people’s driving.
“It’s simply not worth the risk of causing a collision or potentially being banned from the roads.
“Our plan is to ‘up-skill’ neighbourhood PCs so that whenever they’re on a bus they can use their mobiles to film offenders and secure prosecutions.
All officers have a part to play in policing the roads, not just specialist traffic officers, and we’re always looking for opportunities to use our resources more efficiently to tackle road safety issues.
“Everyone needs to pull together to show that using phones while driving must stop…we need to make it socially unacceptable persistent offenders need to recognise that they run the very real risk of prosecution.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who brought in the original ban on driving while on a mobile phone back in 2003 as a Transport Minister, added: “The reason the ban was introduced was to keep the public safe.
“Motorists who use their mobile phone while driving are four times more likely to crash. This campaign is about saving lives.
“Those who continue to use their mobile phones whilst driving are in a minority, but they put the lives of every road user at risk.
“I am glad West Midlands Police are leading this campaign. It will help us stop drivers who choose to endanger not only their life, but the lives of other drivers and pedestrians.”