Dedicated roads policing unit to return to Isle of Wight
A campaign for the reinstatement of a dedicated roads policing unit (RPU) on the Isle of Wight has been hailed a success after Hampshire Constabulary confirmed it would deploy additional resources to the island.
In recent months the lack of a dedicated RPU team has attracted criticism from local MPs, coroners and council leaders. However, following a review by the constabulary, supported by police and crime commissioner Donna Jones, residents will now benefit from an enhanced roads policing service.
Ms Jones has committed to an additional 600 police officers across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight by 2023. As part of the officer uplift commitment for the next financial year, additional roads policing posts are being created across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. This gives the force the capacity and flexibility to invest in this specialist area of policing on the Island.
As part of austerity measures introduced in 2016, specialist armed response vehicle (ARV) officers posted to the Isle of Wight also carry-out specific roads policing duties. They work alongside Response Policing officers to support the force’s commitment to road safety, and are supported by officers based on the mainland when necessary.
Under the new proposals an additional unit of two dedicated roads policing officers will be established on the Island that will complement the ARV and Response Policing capability.
Ms Jones said: “I am grateful to the members of the community and elected representatives who have contacted me about the issue of road safety on the Isle of Wight. I was elected to be a voice for residents and will always listen and work to find the best solution when community concerns are raised with me. I am delighted that my commitment to recruit additional officers has meant that the resources are available to enable the Constabulary to reintroduce a dedicated Roads Policing Team on the Island and improve safety for all road users. I would like to thank ACC Tim Metcalfe for listening to the community and working with me to achieve a positive outcome.”
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Metcalfe, head of Joint Operations for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Constabulary and Thames Valley Police, said: “We are committed to ensuring our roads are safe for motorists on the Isle of Wight, and this has been led by the efforts of the dual-skilled ARV officers who also carry out roads policing duties.
“For some time we have been actively considering options to develop and enhance this capability. I am pleased to say that the current officer uplift, and the commitment from our police and crime commissioner, now gives us the ability to invest in, and re-introduce a team of dedicated roads policing officers on the Island.
“As a police service, it’s important for us to constantly review our operating models in line with demand information, and listen to our communities and partners.
“I have every confidence that this additional resourcing for the Isle of Wight will help to keep road users safe and improve the service we provide to our communities on the Island.”