‘Selfish and stupid’ - More than 120 Norfolk drivers caught using mobile phone in week-long police crackdown

PUBLISHED: 10:13 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:29 30 January 2018

Norfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth.

Norfolk Police carrying out Operation Ringtone in Great Yarmouth. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

More than 120 people were caught driving while using a mobile phone in Norfolk during a week-long enforcement campaign.

Operation Ringtone ran between Monday 22 January and Sunday 28 January, coinciding with a nationwide campaign led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Officers patrolled the roads with marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles, which were all fitted with cameras to obtain evidence to help secure successful prosecutions.

In total roads policing officers issued 121 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) to drivers using a mobile phone whilst driving. This compares with 67 TORs issued during the last week of action which took place between 10 and 16 July 2017.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, Head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said: “This is a staggering number of people caught breaking the law - an average of 17 a day - and I am deeply concerned that such a high number of people are willing to risk other people’s lives by using their phone whilst driving.

“However, I think the fact over 50 more people were caught during this week of action compared with the last one in July 2017 is as a result of an intelligence led concerted effort of officers across the county.”

“Many drivers stated to officers that they were not aware the penalties for the offence increased last year and offenders now receive a £200 fine and six penalty points, which for someone who has had their licence for less than two years would see it revert back to a provisional one.

“What all this does highlight though is that far too many people are oblivious to just how dangerous using your phone whilst driving is and the devastating consequences it can have if it causes you to be involved in a serious or fatal collision.

“Our message is simple – don’t put lives in danger and leave your phone alone whilst behind the wheel.”

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green said; “Operation Ringtone has shown that an astounding number of people are selfish and, frankly, stupid enough to risk not only their own lives but also those of other road users.

“Operations like this are a shopfront for the enforcement activity carried out by our police all year round. Don’t be foolish enough to think that, just because Operation Ringtone has finished, you won’t be caught. Let the drivers facing the consequences of being caught during this week of action be a lesson to you – just don’t do it.”

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