News article

No Excuse team officially on the road, new road safety and policing strategy launched

No Excuse Peugeot.JPG

Devon & Cornwall Police announce new ways to reduce casualties on the roads

UPDATE 5pm 11 October

Just launched #NoExcuse roads #police team 1st operation: 25 fixed penalties, 58 speeders caught by partner camera vans, 7 vehicles seized, 2 prohibited, 1 pursuit and 1 arrest! See them in action on BBC Spotlight tonight!

Devon and Cornwall Police has officially launched its No Excuse team, seven officers dedicated to targeting offences on the regions roads and to assist and enable fellow roads policing and response officers to do the same.

The initiative was originally adopted by Dorset Police and the successful model has now been taken up by Devon and Cornwall Police. The team will have two operational hubs, at Exeter and Bodmin.

The specially trained Devon and Cornwall Police officers, including a sergeant and six police constables will concentrate on tackling the Fatal Five offences that cause an unacceptable level of deaths and serious injuries on our roads – excessive or inappropriate speed, not wearing a seatbelt, distracted driving such as using a handheld mobile phone, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and careless or inconsiderate driving. They will be supported by a researcher to identify significant intelligence trends on road users and areas with specific issues.

Sergeant Jon-Kerridge-Smith, who leads the No Excuse team, said: “Even before being fully resourced the No Excuse team has been out on the roads, and the results speak for themselves. As well as catching offenders ourselves, by providing support for local policing teams we maximise their effectiveness.

Amongst other activities in Devon and Cornwall, the No Excuse team has already achieved the following (27 June to 4 October): 15 drivers roadside drug tested, 154 drivers given a breath test, 249 fixed penalties issued, 47 vehicles seized, 20 arrests, 134 drivers given advice and education and 25 referrals to the DVLA.

“Offending motorists should also be aware that we will be acting on intelligence received from the public or internally generated by, for instance, ANPR (automatic number plate recognition),  to take off the road drivers who have no valid license, road fund license or insurance. Intelligence received will also enable us to concentrate our attentions on specific roads or areas where there is a concentration of offences.”

Mark Armstrong, Road Safety Manager for Dorset Police, said: “The No Excuse team and our ‘Operation Dragoon’ approach to targeting dangerous road users is having a significant impact on our roads and is contributing to our year on year reduction in the number of people killed and seriously injured.

“To date, the team have targeted 1,300 drivers and seized over 200 vehicles, whilst also processing almost 300 pieces of intelligence each week from officers and members of the public. It’s a really positive step to see this approach expanding and I look forward to supporting our colleagues in Devon and Cornwall, as we target dangerous drivers across all three counties.”

The No Excuse team is part of package of measures to tackle driving offences and safety issues on the roads of Devon and Cornwall, and ultimately to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured.

Chief Inspector Adrian Leisk, head of Alliance roads policing, said: “The No Excuse team, proven by Dorset Police to be an extremely effective way of using resources to maximum affect, is an intrinsic part of delivering our commitment to improving the safety of the regions roads. I am extremely impressed by how they have hit the ground running and produced impressive results which will only get better now that the team is fully resourced.

“No Excuse is a key part of our new strategy for safer roads, made possible by an extra £850,000 in funding secured by the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner. As well as the No Excuse team, we will have an additional inspector, sergeant and 15 police constables, all of which are dedicated roads policing officers and some of which will be specialist roads casualty reduction officers.”

The network of road casualty reduction officers will enhance links with communities, road user groups and partner agencies.

“We will also be introducing Operation Dragoon, a methodology to roads policing pioneered by Dorset Police. Acting on intelligence received from the public and internally from police officers, drivers who habitually offend and exhibit dangerous driving will be tagged as risks. Through advice and education from a roads policing officer they will be given every opportunity to moderate their driving behaviour. If they do not, then they will end up in court. This positive interventional approach has proved very successful at reducing re-offending. The No Excuse team researcher will collate the intelligence that pinpoints risk drivers.”

Both the No Excuse team and Alliance roads policing officers will also work closely in partnership with other organisations, such as Highways England, the Peninsula Road Safety Partnership and The Honest Truth charity in more initiatives to reduce casualties on the roads of Devon and Cornwall.

Too many people are dying needlessly on the Devon and Cornwall’s roads, the Police and Crime Commissioner said as she unveiled a strategy designed to tackle the problem.

The strategy focuses on vulnerable road users and advocates a move towards a ‘safe systems’ approach, with road designers working hand in hand with emergency services.

The number of people killed and seriously injured in Devon and Cornwall is of considerable concern to the commissioner and Chief Constable.

A Department for Transport report last month showed there were 63 deaths in the force area in 2017, 12 more than in 2016 when 51 people were killed. In 2015 there were 36 road deaths.

The strategy focuses on collaborative working with partners and identifies seven priority user groups who are at the highest risk of being killed or seriously injured. These are motorcyclists, cyclists, rural road users, younger drivers, pedestrians, older drivers and business drivers.

Over the summer a major road safety engagement exercise run by staff from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner showed that distraction driving was people’s biggest concern, followed by drink and drug driving, with speeding in third place.  The Police and Crime Commissioner’s office and Devon & Cornwall Police will be continuing to work closely with partners in local authorities across the two counties and wider partners such as fire and rescue services to ensure that we have a common understanding of the challenges we face locally and that we work together to make our roads safer.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: “The devastating effects of a road traffic collision which results in a death or serious injury are not limited to the victims, but extend to all families, friends and wider communities. I am delighted to announce these significant developments in Devon & Cornwall Police’s roads policing strategy, preventative methodology and operational capability as a key element within our commitment to road safety and wider public safety.

“Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have a unique road environment, with the greatest length of roads of any two counties in the UK and a mix of rural, urban and trunk routes. Additionally, traffic on our roads increases hugely during the summer months with the added complexity of vehicles and drivers often not suited to or understanding of our road environment. We are very pleased to adopt methods proven by our colleagues in Dorset to reduce casualties and deaths and also to reduce offences and re-offending.

“This is not something we can do alone and requires the public to take responsibility for their own driving and we encourage the public to report incidents of concern to us. Also critical is the work of our partner organisations, using joint intelligence analysis and targeted policing, combined with enhanced road design and preventative partnerships. Alongside a more robust approach to enforcement, we will operate an effective education and early intervention approach to prevent and deter bad driving behaviours. This augments the welcome investment by the PCC enabling us increase the numbers of dedicated roads policing officers.”

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “I am alarmed by the number of serious incidents on our roads and moved by the stories of those who have suffered because of these largely avoidable tragedies.

“The only way we are going to make progress is if we engage with our partners to improve driver education, operate a strict enforcement of dangerous driving and are engaged with the redesign of safer roads systems.”

A full copy of the road safety strategy can be found at

Annette Lloyd, Chief Executive of The Honest Truth says ‘We welcome the publication of the Road Safety Strategy which sets out an ambitious vision to be the region with the safest roads in the UK, and we are fully supportive of this.  At the core of our work is collaboration and we look forward to working closely with the OPCC to deliver our unique road safety campaigns highlighting the key risky driver behaviours contributing to 94% of collisions.

“We also continue to develop our network of Honest Truth Driving instructors as we believe a successful way to effect behaviour change is to provide key messages to young learner drivers delivered by driving instructors. In this way, safe driving becomes the norm for new drivers.”


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