Rather than nipping around in their souped-up Vauxhall Astras catching criminals, police officers are choosing a different, much slower type of transport to catch people out.
We’ve all enjoyed a ride on the top floor, and now it seems some police officers do too, as they’re taking to the upper decks of buses to catch drivers who are using their mobile phones while driving.
Not only putting their own officers in the vantage points to peer down on drivers, police are also encouraging members of the public to upload their own videos of motorists using their phone. So if you ever see someone idiotic enough to attempt the insufferable baby shark challenge/in my feelings crap, you know what to do.
Police in the West Midlands are one of the first forces to put the practice into effect, who have been contacting the offenders and slapping them with a £200 fine and six points on their licence, as the BBC reports.
The West Midlands police are also showing the motorists films of the consequences of their actions. The VR footage reportedly shows drivers and pedestrians being involved in accidents and and collisions due to motorists using their mobiles.
A spokesperson for the police said they would be continuing with their initiative to catch drivers from the top deck of buses.
Police can also bring drivers back to a ‘central zone’ in order to interview them.
The BBC’s report showed a driver of a Range Rover being caught driving while texting, and another driver who was brought back to a ‘central zone’ who admitted he knew he was breaking the law while looking at his phone.
Speaking from the top of a double-decker, PC Mark Hodson said:
Most of the offending is done in their lap, so unless we have a vantage point we can’t actually see if they’re committing the offence or not because we actually have to see the phone.
And so, this gives us the ideal position to that from and not only that but we can train up all our neighbourhood policing PCSOs and PCs to do exactly the same when they go on normal bus journeys in their own communities.
In a recent tweet from the team behind the new initiative, the force said they caught 19 offenders in less than 90 minutes. They also added that, though the police themselves might not see you, a vigilant member of the public may inform them instead.
#OpTopDeck 19 offenders caught in under 90 mins today, if you use your phone & we don't catch you then a member of the public might & send us the footage. The threat of detection & prosecution is now constant & everywhere. 6 points £200 fine #fatal4 #bethesolutionnottheproblem https://t.co/iyLiS71kHs
— West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team (@WMPRHRT) November 27, 2018
Successful morning of #OpTopDeck with @WMPRHRT, total of 19 offenders caught in 1.5 hours! These guys recorded footage of each offender and fines and points will now be issued. Keep yourself and other road users safe – keep your phone stored away while driving❗️#fatal4 #drivesafe pic.twitter.com/IbX5ua6H1f
— Safer Travel Police (@ST_Police) November 27, 2018
Recently, it was revealed that police in Wales have been using an unmarked lorry to catch drivers using their mobile phones, according to WalesOnline.
Officers have been using a handheld video camera in an HGV to record motorists breaking the law.
Inspector Steve Davies, from South Wales Police’s specialist operations department, said:
The ‘supercab’ will patrol the motorway and main trunk roads across Wales, and has been fitted with wide-angle cameras to capture unsafe driving behaviour.
The cabs allow police officers to film evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by pulling up alongside vehicles. Drivers are then pulled over by police cars following behind.
The way to avoid this? Don’t use your phone while driving.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.