West Midlands PCC hearing reveals improvements to major incident response on motorways
Extra training for police officers, earlier access to
crash sites and changes to the way Highways England works
nationally - a number of improvements have been made to how major
incidents are dealt with on motorways thanks to West Midlands
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson.
The PCC today (DEC 20) held a
follow-up meeting to see how the response to emergencies on the
motorway has improved since a fatal crash on the M6 in
It followed his hearing
on March 18 that looked into why the M6 remained closed for 24
hours following the tragic incident on February 4. As a
result, people were stranded in their cars and vans for hours, with
hospital appointments, family funerals and business meetings and
deliveries missed - costing the regional economy millions.
During that initial hearing, 11 recommendations were made. This
new meeting - which was webcast live from Lloyd House in Birmingham
- checked on the progress since then.
Improvements have included:
- Much more information put on police logs for all agencies to
- Highways England now has earlier supervised access to crash
sites to assess the carriageway and traffic management needs.
- More training for CMPG and Highways England officers.
- Highways England now mobilises repair materials to incidents
- Major incident training workshops led by Highways England.
- Highways England now has a major incident hotline where its
partners can reach it straight away.
- Highways England is working to improve its social media output
so it can connect with drivers quicker. The police has also boosted
real-time information on its social media feeds.
- Improved communication and collaboration between all
- Damaged road surfaces are now planed down, allowing traffic to
get moving again quicker.
- A fact-finding visit to London's traffic control centre, which
managed the Olympic Games traffic issues, has been organised to
learn lessons about how they deal with major incidents and
The hearing was told how these improvements have already
strengthened the response to incidents on the motorway - nationally
as well as regionally. For example, following a severe fire on the
M6 northbound earlier this year, all three damaged lanes were
resurfaced much earlier as a result of these new ways of
However, there is still much work to be done and the upcoming
construction of HS2 poses other challenges all groups will need to
take into account.
Following today's hearing, an initial report will be published
before Christmas, followed by a more in-depth document in the new
year. The PCC will also be meeting government ministers about the
issues and the work he has done.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David
Jamieson said: "These hearings have proved to be extremely
worthwhile, with a number of improvements made as a result. This
just goes to show what PCCs can achieve if they think a little
"We've come a long way since February but we still have an
incredible amount of work to do. Obviously, HS2 is the elephant in
the room and if things aren't spot on now, the challenges will be
truly vast - the process of construction could seriously undermine
our economy during that time. We need to make sure we are prepared
for HS2 and its construction doesn't bring our region to a
"One thing is certain, the problems we have on the roads cannot
be solved by one organisation: they are issues for all of us and we
must all play our part. The Combined Authority will have a major
role in bringing all these things together."