Suffolk Police is launching a new team dedicated to policing commercial vehicle use across the county, including taxi and private vehicles, particularly in respect of the strategic road network and the significant volume of goods vehicles generated by the Port of Felixstowe.
The Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU) will go live on Monday 23 November, providing specialist enforcement, knowledge and investigative capability in respect of commercial vehicle activity, alongside contributing towards improving the safety of all those using the roads in Suffolk.
As well as policing compliance and adherence to the wide range of legislation and regulation associated with commercial vehicles, the CVU has an important role in the disruption and investigation of a range of criminality associated with commercial vehicle activity and use.
The scope of the CVU is not just limited to traffic flowing to and from the Port of Felixstowe, but across the spectrum of commercial vehicle activity. This includes the carriage of dangerous and hazardous goods, plant and agricultural vehicles, taxis and private hire vehicles.
The CVU will also enable opportunities to disrupt Organised Crime Groups and serious offences committed by those using commercial vehicles, such as drug trafficking and human trafficking.
The unit will be attached to the Roads and Armed Policing Team (RAPT) and consist of two police constables in the roles of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers, who will be supervised by a RAPT sergeant.
They will be very mobile with the ability to travel across Suffolk, making them an effective countywide resource, the force has said.
Inspector Gary Miller, of the Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “The creation of the Commercial Vehicle Unit will significantly enhance our capability to police the use of our road network by goods vehicles and other professional drivers.
“The Port of Felixstowe is the biggest container port in the United Kingdom and as a consequence means we have a high number of HGVs beginning their journey on Suffolk’s roads, many of which will travel the length of the county along the A14.
“The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers provide us with a dedicated resource, using their specialist knowledge to help us engage with this particular group of road users and take enforcement action against those not adhering to the very specific legislation that applies to them.
“Their remit is far-reaching and will also include ensuring compliance from vehicles transporting dangerous or hazardous goods/materials, plant vehicles used in construction, tractors and other farm machinery, along with taxis and private hire vehicles.
“On top of all this, they will also be another tool for us to disrupt any commercial vehicles that are being used in criminality – especially by Organised Crime Groups. The officers are certainly going to be kept busy!”
Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: “I am delighted to see the launch of this new commercial vehicle unit funded by the policing precept increase to last year’s council tax.
“Keeping our roads safe and the traffic moving is so important, particularly on the A14. The A14 is a vital national gateway to the Port of Felixstowe – the largest container port in the country and we have a huge amount of commercial traffic which needs to be monitored for dangerous vehicles and driver offences.
“I wish the officers well and look forward to seeing the results of this new initiative in due course.”