Footage shows how angry trucker drove HGV towards traffic officer
National Highways traffic officers have been equipped with body cams due to the increasing amount of verbal and physical abuse motorists have subjected them to in recent years. Video footage in which an irate driver can be seen driving towards an officer has been released by the roads operator as an example of what it is says going on the roads.
In just one year, National Highways recorded 214 incidents of intimidating behaviour, assault or abuse against traffic officers, reported the authority yesterday. The incidents took place between January 2020 and 2021 despite the impact of the Covid lockdowns on traffic numbers.
Incidents range from abuse being shouted from a vehicle, foul language, objects being thrown, targeted threats and even physical attacks.
Body-worn cameras have now been issued to National Highways traffic officers patrolling motorways and some major A roads across the country 24/7, 365 days of the year. The national roll-out started in 2021 and was completed last month when the equipment was issued to colleagues in the Midlands.
Studies have shown that the presence of a camera can reduce the potential for confrontation and, should an incident occur, provide vital evidence needed for a police investigation and ultimately prosecution.
National Highways traffic officers are there to keep people safe and help the roads network run smoothly. Those that patrol the network are often first on the scene if there’s an incident and help to reopen the road as soon as possible whether by clearing obstructions and spills, helping with broken-down vehicles or supporting the emergency services.
But despite their primary role being to help, abuse is becoming an increasing problem as they carry out this vital work. Footage has today been released by National Highways of two difficult situations faced by traffic officers which have already been captured on the new cameras.
First, using the cameras can actually de-escalate some situations.
Secondly, cameras can provide an accurate account of events, and the officers don’t need to rely on witness statements if a complaint is made about them.
“The cameras have been provided to help protect our traffic officers and will be part of their uniform. Like a seat-belt, we hope the camera isn’t needed, but it will be there if necessary,” said National Highways Customer Service Director, Mel Clarke.
Traffic officers are wearing Motorola Solutions’ VB400 body-worn cameras which are used to support safety across many UK enterprises and organisations including multiple police forces and NHS England’s ambulance trusts.
Costing some £500,000 to roll out across the team of traffic officers, the camera units are designed to withstand rigorous use and capture high-quality video and audio in all weather and light conditions. Recorded video is uploaded to the cloud, providing footage that is admissible in court.
Photo credits @ National Highways