Police watch Sussex roads with drones and number plate recognition to target anti-social drivers this summer

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Sussex Police have launched their annual campaign to tackle dangerous driving and get people to drive responsibly and considerately.

Every weekend between April and September, including the Bank Holiday, officers are set to take part in the operation, providing a ‘highly visible presence’ on the Sussex road network and taking enforcement action where necessary.

Police said they would use a variety of tactics including automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and drones.

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“Last year, 46 people were killed on roads in Sussex and 934 people were seriously injured,” said chief constable Jo Shiner, adding that this has a devastating impact on families, individuals and communities.

Police said they aim to reduce the ‘fatal five’ factors that lead to people being killed or seriously hurt on roads.

These are: driving at excess speed, drink and/or drug-driving, not wearing a seatbelt, careless and anti-social driving, and being distracted while driving (such as by using a mobile phone).

Chief constable Shiner said: “A split second of inattention or poor driving can change lives forever.”

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She added that everyone using the roads has a personal responsibility to keep themselves safe and not put others at risk.

Sussex Police chief constable Jo Shiner. Picture: Sussex Police.Sussex Police chief constable Jo Shiner. Picture: Sussex Police.
Sussex Police chief constable Jo Shiner. Picture: Sussex Police.

“We simply will not tolerate the small minority of people who drive or ride anti-socially through the county,” said Chief constable Shiner.

A big part of the campaign, she said, would involve cracking down on people that use roads to peddle drugs, transport vulnerable people or facilitate other crime.

Chief constable Shiner said: “We can’t be everywhere, but we could be anywhere, and with an increased number of officers, better equipment, and more intelligence, those intent on driving dangerously can assume we are not far away.”

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Sussex Police said a recent example of dangerous driving is the conviction of Giacomino Morrone, 24, of London Road, Burgess Hill, who police said was seen performing a wheelie in front of a convoy of unmarked police vehicles in Brighton.

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: “Footage shows him riding at excess speed, reaching 80mph in a 20mph, riding through red lights, and reaching 107mph on the A27 in order to evade the police.”

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said Sussex has ‘an extensive but mainly rural roads network’.

She said: “If we want to make them safer for everyone, we must recognise the dangers of all kinds of anti-social and careless driving.”

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She added that Operation Downsway will see more visible and vigorous police enforcement to make sure that people who drive dangerously are caught.

Sussex Police will be working with the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP), the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Community Speed Watch groups and Operation Crackdown.

Casualty Reduction officers, and Mobile Speed Enforcement Vans will also be involved.