First joint M5 policing operation sees almost 300 drivers brought to book
The first ever policing operation covering the entire
length of the M5 has resulted in 291 people being dealt with for
traffic and other offences.
Operation Unity involved officers from seven police forces working
together to proactively police the M5 corridor, from its origins in
West Bromwich, near Birmingham, to the start of the Devon
Expressway in Exeter.
The aim of the operation was to crackdown on travelling criminals
and target traffic offences over a two-day period, between
Thursday, 2 October, and Friday, 3 October.
Of the 291 drivers dealt with, 70 were stopped for speeding
offences, 54 were issued with fixed penalty notices for using their
phone at the wheel and 35 were pulled over for not wearing their
As part of the operation, 11 people were arrested on suspicion of
a variety of offences. Notable arrests include the arrest of two
men, with the help of Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG)
officers, over vehicle thefts.
The pair were arrested on the M50 in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire,
on 2 October after their vehicles were identified by officers
working on Op Unity. Stephen Probert, aged 38, of no fixed abode
and Keri Davies, aged 28, of Commercial Street, Bargoed, were both
charged with theft, fraud and taking a vehicle without consent
offences. They appeared before Worcester Magistrates' Court
yesterday (6 October) where they were remanded into
Elsewhere, officers from Devon & Cornwall and Avon &
Somerset responded to a report about a man in a Mercedes van with a
handgun seen near Cullompton, Devon. Local, unmarked, armed
officers quickly picked up the vehicle and monitored its journey
into Somerset. The van was stopped near Bristol and searched - no
arrests were made but a BB pistol was recovered.
While forces already share intelligence and respond to incidents
across borders, it is the first time officers from CMPG (West
Mercia, West Midlands and Staffordshire forces), the newly-formed
Tri-force Operations (Avon & Somerset, Gloucestershire and
Wiltshire forces) and Devon & Cornwall Police have taken a
consistent approach and worked together as one to police the
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David
Jamieson, said: "To keep our motorways safe for everyone and tackle
organised crime requires police forces to work together, just as
the three-force Central Motorway Police Group has done for many
years in our area.
"We know that the motorway network is vital to organised crime, and
I am pleased to see forces working together across boundaries to
deny its use to criminals. I welcome this operation and hope
to see more of its kind in future."
Superintendent Paul Keasey, head of CMPG who led the operation,
said: "We are delighted with the results of this operation, which
saw 79 drivers dealt with on the M5 in the West Mercia and West
Midlands force areas.
"Recent intelligence indicates the M5 is a vital route for many
different members of the criminal community, allowing them to
traffic people, convey drugs, transport stolen goods and deliver
vehicles following car key burglaries.
"We hope this operation sends a clear message to them that we will
act on the information we receive from the public and we will take
whatever action necessary to disrupt their activities.
"We also hope it raises the awareness of the 'fatal five'
offences, namely dangerous and careless driving, mobile phones,
speeding, seatbelts, drink and drug driving, and makes drivers
think more carefully about their actions, helping to reduce the
number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads."