Operation Showdown took place on Tuesday 23 April, with the aim of disrupting and frustrating the activities of criminals, including organised crime groups, who commit offences across county borders whilst using the road network.
Vehicles identified as being potentially involved in criminality were brought back to a check site at Sainsbury’s car park in Hadleigh Road, where police and partner agencies conducted checks of the vehicles and occupants.
The operation was carried-out by officers from the Scorpion Team, Roads and Armed Policing Team, Road Casualty Reduction Team and Police Dog Unit.
Partner agencies present included the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), Driver & Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), Home Office Immigration, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) Taxi Licensing, Marstons civil debt collectors and Trading Standards.
Of the 100 vehicles which were escorted back to the site, 24 left clear of any offences.
Three men from the Ipswich area were arrested on suspicion of drug-driving as follows: a 41-year-old (positive indication for cocaine), a 37-year-old and a 33-year-old (positive indications for cannabis). All were taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre (PIC) for questioning and have been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
A 23-year-old man was arrested after officers had cause to stop his vehicle in Burlington Road. Darnell Blanchard, of Moore Road in Ipswich, was taken to Martlesham PIC for questioning and subsequently charged with possession of a knife in a public place and possession of cannabis. He has been bailed to appear at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on Friday 28 May.
77 Traffic Offence Reports were issued as follows: 21 for not wearing a seatbelt; 11 for dangerous condition; 10 for no MOT; eight for no insurance; eight for defective tyres; five for no driving licence; five for tinted windows; three for defective lights; three for incorrectly registered vehicles; one for number plate offences; one for using a mobile phone; and one for driving in a bus lane.
Six vehicles were seized for no insurance/driving licence offences; one vehicle defect rectification notice was issued.
12 people provided negative breath tests and three people provided negative drug tests.
Drugs dogs searched seven vehicles resulted in 25 positive indications. One person was issued with a cannabis warning.
The DVSA issued 13 immediate prohibitions, taking those vehicles off the road straight away; 11 delayed prohibitions; and 27 advisory notices.
The DVLA clamped 14 vehicles for not having tax and recovered 2,080 in fines. They also recovered £400 from five warning stickers and £100 for one seizure, totalling of £2,580 in monies recovered.
Marstons civil debt collectors recovered outstanding fines of £4,700 and Home Office Immigration Officers made 84 checks.
HMRC challenged 25 vehicles checking for illegal fuel and no offences were found and IBC taxi licensing checked seven vehicles and one tyre warning was issued.
Inspector Gary Miller, of the Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: “This was yet again another busy and productive day of action, with the team bringing in 100 vehicles, over three-quarters of which recorded an offence of some description.
“The statistics I found quite startling were that 11% of the vehicles were in a dangerous condition, 10% had not MOT, eight were uninsured, and 21 people were risking their own safety by not wearing a seatbelt. Along with the four arrests made, I believe this displays very clearly how important it is that we carry-out these operations.
“We are seeing a similar numbers of offences recorded every time we hold these days of action and it is staggering how many people continue to either get behind the wheel of a vehicle and break the law whilst driving, or continue to drive vehicles with defects. They are a significant danger to other road users and are gambling with peoples’ lives.
“We hold these operations across the county on a regular basis and will continue to do so, both to target any criminals who may be travelling through Suffolk, but also to remove unsafe vehicles and people driving illegally, making our roads and county as a whole safer for everyone.”
Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: “Once again this multi-agency operation has delivered excellent results so congratulations and thanks are due to those involved.
“Identifying and catching criminals is a core function of these initiatives which make a major contribution to keeping Suffolk safe.
“I hope this sends a very clear message and acts as a strong deterrent to the criminal fraternity in Suffolk that you’ll be caught, prosecuted and if found guilty punished accordingly. You have been warned!”