Trainee Officers Join Day of Action
Trainee officers from Gwent Police were out in force practising their skills on hundreds of unsuspecting road users.
Among the offences uncovered by the would-be police officers was a drunk driver, use of prohibited red diesel, untaxed and uninsured vehicles, unsafe loads and counterfeit tobacco.
The force set up a checkpoint at Rassau Industrial estate near Ebbw Vale, just off the A465 Heads of the Valleys road, as part of Gwent Police’s ‘day of action’, which focussed on protecting vulnerable people across the region.
Patrol vehicles and police motorbikes stationed along the road directed suspicious cars, vans and trucks to the checkpoint where they were checked over by teams of trainee officers, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, HMRC officers, and officials from the DVLA, while recovery vehicles stood by to tow away vehicles as needed.
The Cadets, who all have 13 weeks of training behind them, checked 132 vehicles on the Police National Computer and seized 15 vehicles throughout the day. One drunk driver was also arrested at the checkpoint.
Matthew Dando, a 35-year-old trainee from Pontypridd, explained that it was great to finally be out in uniform dealing with the public. “This is our first time with the public,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of training on traffic policing very recently, so it’s nice to come off that back of that and get to put it to the test with real people.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect to find as many vehicle difficulties and issues as we have, it’s been quite a wide range. But we have some experienced officers looking over our shoulders, so it’s been a great experience to shadow them.”
PC Richard Oakerbee, who is responsible for the training, explained that this was the first time Gwent Police had used trainees in a real operation. “It’s gone really well, and the trainees have all been excellent. We’re hopeful that we can start to do this more often because there is no substitute for getting out there and doing the job.”
PC Gibbs, who led the team on the day, said: "Success is going to be judged on how many vehicle stops we make and how many offences are identified. Arresting people is really the last straw here.
"It's about helping vulnerable drivers and making sure unsafe vehicles are taken off the road."
The operation at the Heads of the Valleys Road falls under the banner of Operation Utah, which aims to protect vulnerable drivers by getting other dangerous drivers and vehicles off the road.
Gwent Police’s ‘day of action’ also targeted human trafficking, modern-slavery crimes and domestic abuse.
A spokesman for Gwent Police said: “Police and partners set up a base for at Rassau Industrial Estate, Ebbw Vale, to carry out checks on vehicles and persons using the A465 Heads of the Valleys Road, as part of the ongoing Operation Utah.
“In total, 132 checks were made via the Police National Computer (PNC).