Making Roads Safer: Operation Utah Takes Place in Torfaen
Gwent Police joined forces with a wide range of partner agencies recently, for the latest staging of Operation Utah, a multi-agency operation designed to deny criminals the use of roads in Gwent and crackdown on vehicles putting other motorists at risk.
Operation Utah can take place at any location in Gwent but on this occasion, the team were based at a checkpoint close to Pontypool. During the course of the day, a large number of vehicles were intercepted on routes including the A4042 and surrounding roads by police officers and brought into the site for a variety of checks by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
Representatives of HMRC, the Department for Work and Pensions, Immigration, Torfaen CBC and other agencies undertook checks on driving licences, insurance and vehicle tax enquiries, vehicle defects, benefits being claimed by occupants, any illegal use of red diesel and other offences.
The Operation, which has been running at regular intervals across Gwent for almost 15 years is aided by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, both in police cars and on the roads, to identify potential offences.
81 vehicles were stopped and checked in total. The results were as follows:
- 1 driver arrested for disqualified driving and no insurance
- 26 TORs issued for various offences including drivers with no insurance, no driving licence, dangerous condition of their vehicles such as mechanical defects, number plate offences, driving without an MOT and tyres being in a dangerous condition
- 21 immediate prohibitions issued by DVSA meaning vehicles were seized until defects were rectified
- 36 delayed prohibitions issued by DVSA meaning drivers had a set period of time to rectify any issues
- 2 prohibitions issued for Tachograph offences driving over the permitted hours
- 1 overloading prohibition issued – the vehicle was 80% overweight
- 4 taxi drivers reported for defects on vehicles by Torfaen licencing officers and their licence conditions will be endorsed
- 5 scrap metal collectors reported for inadequate records
- 1 formal warning issued for a driver found with cannabis
- 1 male dealt with who was wanted for offences Germany.
West Area Support Unit Inspector Wendy Keepin, who led the Operation, said, "These Operations are a real joint effort between a variety of different agencies, in an effort to make our roads as safe as possible.
"We wanted to tackle those road users who drive recklessly and endanger other road users by driving vehicles with dangerous defects or by not adhering to safety regulations. All of these results help to make our roads safer which is the key aim for us. I hope this sends out a clear message to anyone using our road network for criminal activity or in an unsafe way that this is not acceptable and when identified, they will be dealt with robustly.
"I would like to thank everyone that made this operation possible and a success, and look forward to working together again on Operation Utah in the future."
Councillor Fiona Cross, Executive Member with responsibility for Public Protection at Torfaen Council, said, “We will not tolerate drivers who put lives in danger. This activity is an excellent example of partners working together to make Torfaen’s roads safer for all users.”
Anyone with concerns about suspect vehicles or road users in Gwent can contact Gwent Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.