Northumbria team wins national road policing award

Left to right, Phil King, from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors; Jayne Willetts, roads policing lead for PFEW; Sergeant Phil Patterson, Op Dragoon, and Detective Superintendent Paul Keasey, awards presenter. Picture by the Police Federation of England and Wales
Left to right, Phil King, from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors; Jayne Willetts, roads policing lead for PFEW; Sergeant Phil Patterson, Op Dragoon, and Detective Superintendent Paul Keasey, awards presenter. Picture by the Police Federation of England and Wales

A Northumbria Police road safety team who developed a unique intelligence grading system for serious road offenders has won a national award.

Operation Dragoon – which featured in ITV primetime show Car Wars – works to protect road users through a specially developed programme of enforcement, engagement and education.

Some of the Operation Dragoon team on Car Wars.

Some of the Operation Dragoon team on Car Wars.

Yesterday, Sergeant Phil Patterson accepted the Outstanding Contribution to Roads Policing 2017 award on behalf of his team for its efforts in making the region’s roads safer at the annual Roads Policing Conference in Leicestershire.

Through their work, members of Operation Dragoon identify and target those who present the biggest risk to the public on our roads and have developed and run a programme of road safety education resources available for all young people.

The team has arrested more than 150 high-profile targets, handed out more than 250 summons, acquired more than £20,000 in fines, disqualified drivers for a total of 140 years and racked up 34 years’ worth of custodial sentences through successful prosecutions.

Sgt Patterson said: “This is down to the hard work of my team, who have worked tirelessly to safeguard the public from dangerous and persistent road offenders. The safety of the public is at the forefront of everything they do.

“Operation Dragoon has been recognised, both nationally and internationally, as the way forward to target dangerous and criminal behaviour on the roads, and we hope this can be replicated by other policing authorities.

“This award is gratefully accepted, and dedicated to the team that I work with.”

Jayne Willetts, roads policing lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “I’m extremely impressed with the standard of the nominations this year, which made it very difficult to choose an absolute winner. Everybody that was nominated should be very proud.

“However, Operation Dragoon were absolutely outstanding. Their contribution to roads policing, in enforcement and education, is a model that other forces should aim to follow.”

Phil King from award sponsor Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, said: “As a former traffic sergeant SIO (senior investigating officer) and FLC (family liaison co-ordinator), I’ve dealt with numerous fatalities and serious collisions.

“Now, working for Irwin Mitchell Solicitors advising on catastrophic injury cases, the evidence that the police gather is vital in pursuing rehabilitation and compensation for victims.

“For myself, and the firm to be able to acknowledge the work done by the police by sponsoring the awards means we can show some of our appreciation. It also provides the officers with a lasting memento for their efforts in keeping our roads safe and supporting victims in serious collisions.”

The Operation Dragoon team is made up of three branches: Enforcement, engagement and education.

Since 2014, it has made significant efforts to increase the safety of all road users through educational campaigns, engaging with car enthusiast communities and by targeting high risk drivers on the region’s roads.

If anyone suspects anyone of dangerous driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving while on their mobile phone, they can contact the team by calling 101.