A proactive roads policing day of action took place in Frome last week with the aim of targeting dangerous drivers and engaging the public in conversations about road safety.
Operation Toro, which took place on Tuesday 21 November as part of Road Safety Week, was organised in response to public concern following a number of serious collisions in the Frome area in recent months.
In the town centre, officers from the Road Safety, Neighbourhood and Mounted teams provided a visible and reassuring presence, engaging with members of the local community to provide road safety advice. A crushed vehicle was on display to serve as a poignant reminder of the potential consequences of driving uninsured or without a valid licence.
The operation was supported by police speed enforcement units and Community SpeedWatch volunteers who were stationed on key routes around the town to detect motorists travelling at unsafe speeds.
Roads Policing officers were also patrolling the area with the support of the drone team, utilising Automatic Numberplate Recognition (ANPR) to identify potential traffic offences such as uninsured driving.
Inspector Rob Barker, Roads Policing lead at Avon and Somerset Police said: “During Road Safety Week, we’re reminding motorists that the ‘fatal five’ – excess speed, drink or drug driving, careless driving, using a mobile phone at the wheel and failing to wear a seatbelt – dramatically increase the likelihood of being involved in a fatal or serious injury collision.
“The police will be actively targeting those drivers who deliberately flout the law and put themselves and other road users at risk, such as those who choose to get behind the wheel intoxicated, drive at unsafe speeds, or fail to ensure their vehicle has a valid MOT and insurance.
“Our approach, both here in Frome and across Avon and Somerset, is a mix of education and enforcement in order to make our roads safer for everyone.”
- 204 speed detections, with a top speed recorded of 55mph in a 30mph limit.
- Community SpeedWatch volunteers monitored thousands of motorists travelling through the town, of which 46 will be sent a warning letter along with advice to help change their driving behaviour.
- Five uninsured vehicles were seized.
- One fixed penalty notice was issued for use of a mobile phone at the wheel.
- Three drivers were identified not wearing a seatbelt.
- One driver was arrested and later charged with drink driving after a roadside breath test revealed them to be over the legal alcohol limit.
Officers also stopped a vehicle linked to a reported assault and seized an offensive weapon.
Somerset Commander, Supt. Lisa Simpson said: “We’ve listened to members of the public here in Frome who are telling us that they are concerned about road safety, particularly motorists driving too fast on roads near schools and residential areas.
“Additionally, we are seeing a worrying number of serious and fatal collisions in 2023, a number of which have occurred on key routes in the Frome area.
“This was a highly successful day of action in which several offenders were taken off the roads before they could cause harm. I hope it will be the first of many such operations across our towns and cities aimed at preventing future tragedies.”
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Shelford, said: “Road safety is a high priority for me in my role as Police and Crime Commissioner.
“I welcome this joined up approach, which was designed to create maximum impact by targeting motorists who pose a risk to other road users, while simultaneously carrying out high visibility community engagement to educate and reassure residents.
“We all have a part to play in ensuring the roads are safe for everyone, and I’d like to express my thanks not only to the officers involved on the day, but also to the dedicated Community SpeedWatch volunteers who supported this operation.”
More than 3500 speeding offences were detected across the entire Avon and Somerset policing area during national Road Safety Week, which ran from 19-26 November.