Take a walk in the shoes of Traffic Sergeant Simon Goldsmith

I am an operational Road Policing Unit (RPU) Sergeant, working for the collaborated Joint Protective Services (JPS) Road Policing Unit at Force Headquarters, Huntingdon. I am one of three Sergeants who cover Beds, Cambs and Herts from the three bases (Hatfield, Kempston and Huntingdon).

My role is to supervise RPU officers across the tri-force area and attend any fatal or serious injury collision as the Senior Investigating Officer, any major road related incident that may shut an arterial route and provide pursuit tactical advice for the force control room. I regularly cover/ travel into Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire to support and can drive upwards of 200 miles a day.

At Cambridgeshire we provide three double crewed cars for the A1(M), A14 and M11.

At 6.30am I hold a briefing to take any handovers from the night shift. I appoint a family liaison officer (FLO) for a fatal road traffic collision (RTC) in Peterborough the day before and liaise with the investigating sergeant as to what my team can do to help the investigation.

The briefing stops at 6.40am so I can deploy the A14 car to a three vehicle collision. I may be needed so I am listening to the Cambridge radio channel. At the same time, there is a five vehicle collision on the M1 in Beds that I need to consider deploying my M11 car to so we can support our colleagues in Kempston. I have to listen to three radio channels now – Cambridge, Peterborough and Tri-force.

I hold a conference call with the Beds and Herts team at 7.30am to cover staff shortages and ensure all areas have an RPU response. My A1(M) car is re-deployed to provide North Beds cover.

Each morning we hold a daily management meeting at 8.30am where details of yesterday’s fatals are discussed and FLO deployments arranged and any support required for statements etc. with the Forensic Collision Investigation Unit (FCIU).

At 9am I attend an appointment with the Road Victim Trust at Kempston to discuss better ways of working in partnership.

I return to Cambs HQ about 11am and I’m shortly deployed to an incident on the A1(M) where a large goods vehicle is driving dangerously. I have 35 miles to cover to get to the scene as I am the closest unit available. This takes me 20 minutes through traffic and results in a no trace for the vehicle. The incident takes me 40 minutes to conclude.

Meanwhile I’m asked to give tactical advice to a pursuit in Luton in a busy city area. I now need to listen to Luton radio whilst still monitoring both Cambs channels. By the time I get familiarised with the pursuit, the vehicle is lost. This takes up 30 minutes.

It’s gone 12pm when I return to HQ. I have to arrange an FLO professional development day so I spend my time booking rooms and speakers. I liaise with the Herts resource management unit (RMU) to put staff on the course for their development.

The late turn shift begin arriving about 2pm but an incident has occurred on the M11 requiring a lane one closure due to a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) breaking down at a critical point. I have a crew available but they are at another incident so I juggle staff to accommodate. This takes a good 10 minutes to deploy.

Staff Personal Development Reviews still need completing (I still need to supervise PDRs and performance manage the team). Fortunately, I have completed half of them but still need to complete the rest.

I then receive a complaint from a member of the public who feels aggrieved by being issued a S59 warning for driving in an anti-social manner. It takes me a good 25 minutes to reassure the complainant that I will deal with the complaint, but there’s some resistance when I tell him that I won’t be removing the S59 warning.

It’s 4pm and almost time to go off duty. I ensure that all my team are accounted for, handovers are mentioned to the late turn Sergeant and that any final admin tasks are completed.

 

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