Traffic officers help to keep journeys safe

PUBLISHED: 14:30 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 21:08 26 October 2009

On patrol: Officers attend 1,500 incidents a month

On patrol: Officers attend 1,500 incidents a month

THEY are the eyes and ears of the motorways. Covering over 70 miles of road, the specialist traffic officers save police from attending hundreds of incidents every month. The Highways Agency service opened its eastern regional control centre in South Mimm

The eastern regional control centre in South mimms

THEY are the eyes and ears of the motorways.

Covering over 70 miles of road, the specialist traffic officers save police from attending hundreds of incidents every month.

The Highways Agency service opened its eastern regional control centre in South Mimms two years ago this month.

A team of 45 traffic officers patrol parts of the M25, M1 and A1(M).

Their responsibilities include dealing with minor collisions, removing damaged and abandoned vehicles and clearing dangerous debris, although dealing with incidents involving injury or fatality remains the responsibility of the police.

The patrols now attend about 1,500 incidents a month.

Highways Agency operations manager Eddie Oag said: "Our traffic officers patrol the motorways 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so they are able to make a difference to a large number of drivers, helping to make the motorways safer and journeys more reliable."

Insp Dave Partridge from Hertfordshire Constabulary's strategic roads policing unit said: "Over the last two years the Highways Agency traffic officers have made a huge impact on the way in which incidents on the road network are dealt with.

"They provide a vital support role at police-led incidents as well as taking the lead on other matters which were traditionally left to the police to resolve.

"This support has taken the strain off the police services as well as providing valuable assistance and reassurance to members of the public."

At the South Mimms control centre, a team of operators are also responsible for answering emergency roadside telephones, setting overhead message boards on motorways and dispatching patrols to incidents across the region.

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