Shocking scenes as we join West Midlands Police as they crackdown on dangerous drivers in Birmingham
BirminghamWorld joins West Midlands Police as they launch Operation Triton to crackdown on dangerous driving in Birmingham
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Three months ago a cyclist was killed only 50 metres away from where I watched drivers bomb through red lights. Husband-to-be Hussien Nur Teklise, 45, died after being struck by a car in a hit-and-run crash on Birmingham’s Belgrave Middleway.
The dad, described as ‘kind’ by his fiancée, would tragically never return home to his two-year-old son. His death – and a number of other recent road fatalities – have inspired city leaders to ‘crackdown’ on dangerous driving.
But the spike in road tragedies has clearly not deterred some reckless motorists from breaking the law. I met with officers at Horton Square junction on Monday morning (August 7) and watched in disbelief as drivers ran red lights despite an obvious police presence.
I was interviewing Supt Gareth Mason, of West Midlands Police, about Operation Triton when he broke away to peer over my shoulder. He said: “I’ve just seen red light contraventions. Two cars just went through right behind me, despite the fact I’m stood here in uniform and there’s another officer over there.”
The ‘other officer’ was positioned on the edge over Belgrave Middleway on the lookout for illegal activity on the road below. Perhaps unsurprisingly a number of motorists were pulled over during a two-hour window.
Reasons for being stopped included running red lights, carrying unsecured loads, having unrestrained children in the car and looking at their phones while driving. When I asked Supt Mason if he was shocked by what we were seeing he said: “It just shows how common road enforcement regulation breaches are – it happens all the time.
“We all see it as members of the public driving our own cars; see people speeding, going through red lights and a whole range of different things. It has become common and acceptable, and that’s what we need to challenge.”
What is Operation Triton?
The operation was launched this week following a spate of road tragedies. It is a coordinated response between West Midlands Police, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), Birmingham City Council and the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner. Targeted enforcement is set to be carried out by police at known road danger spots.
The operation aims to show that dangerous driving will not be tolerated in the region. Cllr Liz Clements, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for transport, said: “For far too long we have given priority to cars and other motor vehicles – and this must change.
“We have set out in our transport plan how we want Birmingham to be a place to live and be, not drive and park, with people making better use of public transport, walking and cycling. In changing our priorities we can achieve a change in attitude and behaviour – after all, we all want safer roads.
“Everyone can play their part, whether authorities, charities, campaigners or members of the public. We have an ambitious but vital goal and together we can, and must, achieve it because we cannot tolerate dangerous driving that causes so many deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”
Actions taken as part of new crackdown on dangerous driving in Birmingham
- More officers involved in West Midlands Police’s Road Harm Prevention Team will bolster efforts to enforce against people who endanger vulnerable road users.
- Two new road crime teams will work day and night to target dangerous drivers, police said
- TfWM will launch a new high-profile road safety campaign supported and co-funded by each partner and a revised Road Safety Strategy with the goal of a 50 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on roads by the end of 2030
- Police to encourage third party reporting, giving communities power to submit dash-cam and helmet cam footage to support tackling anti-social driving in their areas
- Birmingham City Council has pledged to consult on reducing speeding limits on main roads in the city from 40mph to 30mph and has commenced a pilot scheme to reprogram crossings to make them more responsive to pedestrians and give them longer time to cross
- Police promise to equip and upskill local policing teams to tackle road safety in their communities, with a particular focus on anti-social driving and speeding
- West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said he will allocate a portion of the upcoming Safer Streets 5 funding to be used to tackle anti-social use of roads
Partners are working together to increase the number of average speed cameras across the network to tackle speeding on our most dangerous roads. West Midlands Police said it will work towards a significant increase in speed enforcement from 2024 in order that compliance with speed limits improves. The council has promised to accelerate its A45 active travel scheme with spades in the ground for the first phase by this winter