Tue. May 17th, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Dedicated road police to return to the Island

2 min read

Island residents are set to benefit from an enhanced roads policing service, due to the re-introduction of a dedicated team.

As part of a 600-officer uplift over the next financial year, additional roads policing posts are being created across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Under new proposals, an additional unit of two road policing officers will be established on the Island to complement the current arrangements.

As part of austerity measures, introduced in 2016, specialist armed response vehicle officers were posted to the Island to carry out roads policing duties. They work alongside other police officers to support the force’s commitment to road safety, and capacity is boosted by officers based on the mainland when necessary.

The decision to re-establish a dedicated unit follows concerns first raised by the Island’s coroner, Caroline Sumeray, who wrote to Hampshire’s Chief Constable in April 2021, following an inquest into a fatal accident. Councillor Ian Dore, who has campaigned on road safety since his election last May, also spoke passionately about the need for a dedicated road policing unit at a council meeting in September. A joint letter was then sent in December from council leader, Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox and MP, Bob Seely, to Chief Constable, Olivia Pinkney, and Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones. This was followed by calls for the change from the Isle of Wight Association of Local Councils.

Mrs Sumeray pointed out that Islanders pay the same police precept as in other areas of Hampshire, and were entitled to expect similar levels of service. Her letter also revealed that Island officers had sought additional roads policing training; it said: ‘It is disappointing to read that these officers have asked to receive this more specialist training (to accord with their duties) in line with their Hampshire colleagues, but that this has been refused by Hampshire Constabulary.

“I struggle to understand how it can be justified for those officers who carry out their duties on the Isle of Wight to not be trained to the same high standard as their colleagues in the rest of Hampshire – which, it goes without saying, is the same police force.”

Her letter secured a commitment to a review of the situation.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, said: “I am grateful to the members of the community and elected representatives who have contacted me about the issue of road safety on the Isle of Wight. I would like to thank ACC Tim Metcalfe for listening to the community and working with me to achieve a positive outcome.”

Assistant chief constable, Tim Metcalfe, said: “We are committed to ensuring our roads are safe for motorists on the Isle of Wight, and this has been led by the efforts of the dual-skilled ARV officers who also carry out roads policing duties.

“I have every confidence that this additional resourcing for the Isle of Wight will help to keep road users safe and improve the service we provide to our communities on the Island.”