LA Awards 20 (1) for 13 Nov

The hard work and dedication of those working towards reducing death and injury on Warwickshire’s roads has been recognised by a number of awards.

Judges’ comment: Officers recognise that spending time teaching drivers where to make changes, achieves far more than dispensing a ticket.


Warwickshire Police’s Commercial Vehicle Unit was set up in 2020 to look at vehicles of 3.5 tonnes and above. Officers in the unit have a dual role, which gives the team a far greater appreciation of the risks and consequences of what can happen when things are not done correctly. The unit was set up in part to change the way officers interact with drivers and operators.


Whilst the activity is focussed in the Warwickshire area, the routes through the county heading to and from major freight terminals in the Midlands and ports across the country, mean that the benefits will extend well beyond the Warwickshire border.


The day job of a Commercial Vehicle Unit officer is to investigate road death, as part of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit. Their ambition was to do more to prevent dangerous incidents occurring on the network, especially with commercial vehicles exceeding 3.5 tonnes.


The only unit of its type operating in the Midlands, its officers are highly trained in a number of areas including vehicle examination, weighing vehicles and their loads, carriage of dangerous goods (CDG), load security and tachograph manipulation.


Favouring education over enforcement where possible, the unit’s officers recognise that teaching drivers where they need to make changes achieves far more than dispensing a ticket and moving on to the next job. This unique, safety-focussed approach often takes drivers and Transport Managers by surprise. Officers are also not afraid to give praise where it is due, contacting Transport Managers via email and giving companies shout outs on their Twitter feeds to celebrate them being all in order.


The unit does not want to investigate preventable road death. Sadly, it encounters many cases of poor load security, overweight vehicles in poor condition or drivers who have exceeded their driver hours.


Working closely with Highways England, the unit uses its unmarked HGV to detect offences committed by all road users. Using their high vantage point, officers can look across or down into vehicles to look for instances of distracted driving, such as mobile phone use or reading paperwork.


This year the unit has forged greater partnerships with external stakeholders, working not only with the Office of the Traffic Commissioner and DVSA to ensure consistency in reporting across the industry, but has provided training for the construction industry on safer loading, as well as working closely with large haulage companies.


The nomination was made on the Road Haulage Association website and recognises that throughout the pandemic the Warwickshire Police Commercial Vehicle Unit team have continued to work with commercial vehicles across the county, ensuring that HGV drivers are taking the appropriate breaks, paying the HGV levy, securing their loads and adhering to CDG regulations.


Within the Midlands Warwickshire’s CVU are regional leads, but also lead nationally on Operation Tramline – Highways England’s unmarked HGV that is used on the network ensuring that all road users are adhering to the law.


As HGV drivers themselves, the CVU are passionate about driving and keeping the sector safe, educating and only using enforcement when necessary.


Speaking for the team, PS Carl Stafford said “We are humbled to be recognised by our peers for the work we have been doing within the commercial vehicle community.”


PCC Philip Seccombe said “This is great news for Warwickshire Police and a feather in the cap. What pleases me most is that the increased focus and investment, I have helped bring about, to improve road safety in the county has been recognised.”


You can follow the work of Warwickshire’s Commercial Vehicle Unit on twitter to see their latest vehicle stops and checks using the hashtag #CVUWarks.


The HGV Hero campaign was established by the RHA to highlight some of the fantastic work that our road hauliers have been doing recently, across multiple disciplines, skills and qualifications, in order to keep our country going during these challenging times.


The road transport industry is one of the most important industries in the UK.  It is essential for businesses and delivers everything that we rely on in our day to day lives, with 95% of all goods in the UK at some point travelling by road.

The sector is also the 5th largest in the UK, employing over 2.5million people; from drivers, engineers, project managers, logistics coordinators to web developers, data scientists, coders, designers and more.  There are thousands of different opportunities, careers and jobs within the sector.

Warwickshire Police’s Commercial Vehicle Unit has won a national award from Highways England for the second year running in recognition of the dedication of officers in achieving ‘Top Performing Force 2020’ in the country for Operation Tramline.


During Operation Tramline, officers use a specially-adapted HGV ‘supercab’ owned by Highways England to observe driver behaviours in all vehicles and deal with any offences on Warwickshire’s road network. These are drivers that could have caused death or serious injury to themselves or other users of Warwickshire’s Roads.


The award was made on Friday 12 February 2021 in the presence of Chief Constable Martin Jelley, PS Stafford and PC Russell by Highways England Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator Marie Biddulph who said “Winning this award for the second year running is testament to the commitment of Warwickshire Police in helping us to tackle dangerous driving on our roads.


“The support of our police partners across the country is vital for the success of Operation Tramline and our efforts to reach that minority of drivers who are putting themselves and others at risk by simply ignoring the law.


“Together, through initiatives such as Operation Tramline, we are helping to make our roads safer.”


Chief Constable Martin Jelley said “I’m extremely proud of what the Commercial Vehicle Unit has achieved to date to make our roads safer for everyone.  They are a small team who work extremely hard to do whatever they can to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.  Tackling unsafe driver behaviour remains a high priority for the force, behind every death or serious collision on our roads are devastated families. We need everyone to drive safely and with consideration to others on our roads.”


Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said “The Commercial Vehicle Unit has been a great success since it was set up with the help of my Road Safety Fund. To scoop this accolade two years in a row just highlights the hard work of all of the officers involved and the success that partnership working with Highways England brings.  I’ve been determined to see reductions in road casualties across Warwickshire and the work that the CVU has been doing through Operation Tramline plays a major part in that.”


Speaking for the team, PS Carl Stafford said “Operation Tramline is about keeping people safe on our roads.  We are delighted to be recognised by Highways England for our work in identifying those people who pose serious danger to themselves and other road users. It would not be possible without the dedication of a small number of passionate officers, our special constabulary and support from our partner agencies.”


“The ‘supercab’ is invaluable because it allows officers to see all road users from an elevated position, giving a much clearer view of what drivers are doing. For example, if a driver is using a mobile phone or not wearing their seatbelt. The ‘supercab’ allows our officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles often on our motorway network where drivers really need to concentrate on their driving. If offences are identified then officers following behind the cab are notified and the driver and vehicle intercepted and dealt with.


Led by officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, the Commercial Vehicle Unit is financed by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe’s Road Safety Fund as part of his ambition to reduce the numbers killed and seriously injured on Warwickshire’s Roads.  The CVU often works in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive, Highways England, Environment Agency, Road Haulage Association, DVSA and HM Revenue & Customs and is also regularly assisted by the Special Constabulary.


Since its formation in January 2019, the work of the CVU has been recognised not only by Highways England but last July they were nominated by their peers as ‘HGV Heroes’ on the Road Haulage Association website, acknowledging their work throughout the pandemic ensuring that HGV drivers are taking the appropriate breaks, securing their loads and adhering to CDG regulations. In November they were announced the winner of the ‘Public Service Operator of the Year’ category in the UK Logistics Awards 2020 after being shortlisted in September 2020.


You can follow the work of Warwickshire’s Commercial Vehicle Unit on Twitter to see their latest vehicle stops and checks using the hashtag #CVUWarks.  Or follow the CVU on @OPUWarks.


For more information about Operation Tramline please click here