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Working on th A12 Essex Two cars went round a police car protecting VRO


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Yesterday afternoon I was assisting a broken down vehicle on a major road in Essex called the A12. The police vehicle was protecting me in lane one. But two vehicles decided to go round the police car and come back into lane one. 


Police officers had some words to say to the drivers. 



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The   A12 is the most dangerous section of road in eastern Britain ....running from London to the East coast ports and cities....across its length it goes from 3 lanes to 2 and back several times often creating high speed bottlenecks ... and very little safe pull off areas 


Paul Anstee  aka Zoggie  owner of Service On Site Recovery  and his other staff members  ...   work this road every day and have had several hits and near misses...


Paul is an avid supporter of the UK.... SDMO campaign and being one of the founders,  has done more than anyone in the UK to bring the dangers to the attention of the UK Government, Local Authorities and the general public ...and is constantly working to raise the profile by distributing leaflets, decals and apparel.... Regularly attending meetings with police,  transport officials  and safety committees... 


It is great to see the Police actively working to assist and protect Recovery operators and it highlights the stupidity of some motorists and that even more education is required ...


I only wish there was more resources available to provide protection on a much more regular basis....  



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In my humbled opinion, I believe this video is a perfect training recommendation that flares or cones are set for situations like these. One doesn't need assets to carry cones in their police vehicle. And, if they do carry cones, why weren't they set. I believe the lane was insufficiently closed and Zoogie wasn't protected.  While I apreciate Essex Police being on-scene, here's a recognizable example of failing to identify the work-zone to approaching motorists. Cops in rain-gear, on the highway, standing in live traffic lanes, and (at times) with backs to traffic is playing Russian Roulette with their lives. Don't get me wrong ... I support LE 110-percent, but, there are better ways. Zoogie, John, in all reality, wouldn't you agree? Am I wrong?


A line of cones, leading before the forward police car and past the carrier, would have been far more effective and indicate a solid lane closure. With extremely narrow shoulders on that section of the A12, a line of a dozen (or more) cones would have offered better identification of the lane's closure. And, based on the video, the black Volkswagen swerving from behind the slowing semi, was the same similar set of deadly circumstances that  took the lives of Montana towers, Cassie Allen and Nick Visser. From my view from the cheap-seats, I don't necessarily blame the VW driver as there was nothing to suggest the lane was totally closed past the police car. This is a great video to show what NOT to do when faced with this kind of scenario. But, on a positive note, at least Paul had some police presence versus attempting to load that car without them there. I'm glad your OK Zoogie. Thanks for sharing the video.       R.

Edited by rreschran

Randall C. Resch

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Randall.....your opinion is as always, very valued.....as regards a training video ......I  totally agree ...this should be shown with the sub heading  ..... " how not to do it "


I am not for one moment decrying the presence of police on site ....the mere fact that they have got the traffic flow down to walking pace  HAS to be good for the safety of the recovery operative  and the motorist         the RO can get loaded and get the hell out of there  asap ...


The police resources are so stretched in that area  the recovery operatives are thankful for what they can get.....I am aware of times when there are only two or three traffic units on duty  for the Whole of the county .....for what ever reason .......police resources are under huge pressure at the moment  with  the  Covid issue ...and a good portion of the workforce dealing with the current lockdown  enforcement,   self isolating and  positive infection ...


As regards the positioning and equipment carried on  the police vehicle   normally they do carry about 8  ones ,    collapable  police slowdown signs  and blue stroboscopic flashing beacons .....I suspect  they were positioned away from the rear of the police vehicle ...out of sight of this vidieo....probably ...


I totally agree with you Randall.....this whole incident could have been dealt with differently  without putting the officers in danger ...


The police car could have been positioned a lot closer......some cones outlining the work area between the police car and the tow truck ...

Both officers should have been positioned in the work area facing the oncoming traffic   watching for errant drivers and signalling them to stay in the single running lane 

They were too busy chastising the two drivers that had strayed back into the work area ....this in turn was causing obstructions for the slow moving vehicles and putting their own safety at risk ...



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As said there is low resources and getting a police car is blessing! If the Police are on scene before us we can not deploy cones from our vehicle it has to be from the authorities in control. Highways do not support as rapid responce to support the police on this road. 

And if we stop and obstruct traffic we get a £60.00 fine for a £45.00 job. 



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It would appear that the L.E. presence alone did get traffic slowed to a reasonable speed though the scene. That stretch looks like a high speed area under normal circumstances. And I feel that without their presence, speed reduction would have been minimal, if at all. I have noticed there is usually a 20 m.p.h. further reduction in speeds around my scenes when there is L.E. present. BUT, mistakes were made in my opinion. Cones and signage should have been deployed between the patrol cars and the recovery or at the very least, the gap between them should have been closed a bit. (25'-35 feet from the scene ) Most People simply just dont look that far ahead. By closing the gap some, It would bring the recovery into the drivers periphial vision as they approached the cruisers and hopefully deter anyone from trying to "cut the line' like those 2 vehicles. 

I most certainly commend the officers on giving the offending drivers a good talking to but again I question the decision to stop them right in traffic. Pull them over properly, ( preferably, in front of the recovery scene ) and WRITE THE SUMMONS. Talking just doesnt seem to be working... 


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