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Operation Lightning strikes with 140 arrests in two weeks

Officers have stopped almost 1,400 cars and made 140 arrests as part of an ongoing roads policing operation across Staffordshire.

Operation Lightning was set up to tackle criminals using the road network and to prevent increases in the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.

On Sunday (13 September) a fixed-wing aeroplane took to the skies above Stoke-on-Trent as officers made 10 arrests including drugs offences, dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking.

The aeroplane allowed officers to specifically target anti-social behaviour from motorcyclists and safely pursue eight vehicles.

The operation began on 1 September and includes a focus on the ‘fatal four’ motoring offences that are major causes of death and serious injury on the roads – speeding, mobile phone use, drink and drug use and not wearing a seatbelt.

Officers have dealt with a range of offences and to date there have been a total of 562 drivers reported for multiple vehicle offences, 375 for speed offences and a further 573 will receive advisory letters from our community speed watch partners. There have been 199 vehicle seizures for varying offences.

There have been 46 positive breath tests and 28 positive drug swipes.

Officers have used all tactical methods available to them including high-visibility patrols, unmarked patrols, covert patrols and drones, motorcycles equipped with speed detection and video recording equipment and mobile safety camera vans.

The decision by the Staffordshire Commissioner earlier this year to increase council tax funding for policing has enabled the force to make further investments in improving its capacity and capabilities to disrupt criminality and tackle the issues which matter most for local communities, delivering improved outcomes.

The operation is being run alongside partners including the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG), Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership and the Community Speed Watch Scheme.
Leading the team operationally, Chief Superintendent Elliott Sharrard-Williams, Head of the Operational Support Directorate, said: “We can already see that Operation Lightning is going from strength to strength and achieving great results.

“We’ve used a variety of tactics to assist us in cracking down on offenders using the road network. Operation Lightning runs throughout the year, but this intensification will help us to tackle criminality on our roads and work to prevent serious road traffic accidents, protecting local communities from harm and building on the crime decrease we have seen through the Covid pandemic.”

Operation Lightning continues for a further week but efforts will be ongoing. Roads policing is one of the areas that has benefited from additional investment as a result of the precept increase. The force has set up a dedicated roads policing capability to enhance existing capabilities through increased enforcement and the use of new technologies such as drones and off-road bikes. This is in addition to the extensive education programmes delivered by our partners in the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership.

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