VIDEO: Norfolk Police launch new road safety unit

Police chiefs have pleaded with drivers to stay safe on Norfolk’s roads after three people died in crashes across the county this week.

The plea was made as officers today launched a new casualty reduction unit, designed to specifically target vulnerable user groups and accident blackspots.

Chief inspector Chris Spinks, head of roads policing in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “Those roads themselves are not dangerous until you put a car and a driver on them.

“It’s the driver’s responsibility to drive sensibly and carefully and we will do our best to deal with those who drive outside the law.”

Two motorists were killed in separate collisions on the A47 at King’s Lynn and Swaffham earlier this week, while a third died in a crash at Wood Dalling, near Fakenham.

So far this year, there have been 22 fatal collisions on Norfolk’s roads, compared to 34 in the whole of 2014.

And Chf Insp Spinks said busy single carriageway roads, like the A47, are of particularly concern.

He said: “A lot of our collisions do take place on the rural A and B roads, so a lot of our targeting will be based on collision analysis and putting those officers out in those areas.”

The new unit, which was unveiled at Norfolk Police headquarters in Wymondham this morning, will initially work to get specific safety messages across to motorcyclists, which are felt to be a particularly difficult to reach group of road users. The officers involved in the unit are all motorcyclists themselves.

Other high-risk groups that the project will aim to work with include young drivers, older drivers and pedestrians and cyclists.

In its first month of operations, the team has made one arrest, compiled 156 traffic offence reports and issued 70 verbal warnings to drivers.

Chf Insp Spinks said the new team would be working on specific issues on top of the roads unit’s normal duties.

He added: “This means they can concentrate on casualty reduction work without the need to respond to routine calls.”

More than £200,000 is being spent on the project, which is being funded by money generated from the county’s Road Safety Camera Partnership.

Jenny McKibben, Norfolk’s deputy police and crime commissioner, said the number of people killed and seriously injured on Norfolk’s roads remained at an “unacceptable level.”

She said the programme was a “positive” way of using the funds generated by the partnership to enhance road safety.

She added: “We know safety cameras have an impact on driver behaviour and making the roads safer for everyone.

“A long-term solution is needed and this is one part of that.”

The launch of the initiative comes exactly a year after the force released a hard-hitting video featuring footage of a fatal collision involving motorcyclist David Holmes, who was killed on the A47 at Honingham in June 2013.

The video has had more than 17 million viewings online and Chf Insp Spinks said the film had exceeded all their expectations.