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Police launch Operation Vega to crack down on road offences

Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley (File photograph)

Police have launched an “all-service” operation to crack down on the most prevalent driving offences committed on Bermuda’s roads.

Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley also announced at a press conference yesterday afternoon that he is to meet with Lawrence Scott, the Minister of Transport, next week to discuss numerous issues including inadequate fines for road offences.

Mr Corbishley will also raise the issue of police having to “advertise” where roadside sobriety checkpoints are located, essentially tipping off drink drivers.

“The current framework of enforcement in Bermuda is not strong enough,” Mr Corbishley said.

“You can go through a red traffic light and get a $50 fine yet we see people going to court for Covid regulation offences where they receive fines in the thousands. That’s not to knock anything around Covid regulations because they are important for the country, but when somebody jumps a red light they put lives at risk.

“Today we launch Operation Vega. This is an all-service response to address some of the issues that are going on each and every day on our roads.”

On sobriety checks, he added: “I have a personal view about advertising where we are going to be doing drink drive stops as that frustrates the process. I hope to have discussion with the Minister of Transport about these very issues – officers need to be equipped to be able to deal with drink driving in any situation which we can if we find somebody who is unfit.”

Mr Corbishley was joined at the press conference by Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell, former head of the Bermuda Police Service’s Roads Policing Unit.

Mr Cardwell said there had been a significant rise in serious injury collisions this year compared to last, even when factoring in Covid-19 restrictions on movement in 2020. He said there had been 94 more serious injury collisions between January to June of this year than during the same period of last year.

Mr Cardwell explained that Operation Vega would take “a targeted approach to the most prevalent offences committed on the roads”.

He added: “I have circulated among my colleagues that the offences we are going to target are helmet offences – not fastening your helmet, driving without real consideration, such as not using your indicators, mobile phone use while driving, driving without due care and attention, and stop sign and red light offences.

“I look forward to observing a robust, visibly effective police presence on the roads and working towards bringing some calm to the current roads network.”

Asked whether any headway had been made on the introduction of speed cameras, Mr Corbishley said talks were ongoing.

“We are in discussion with the Minister of National Security. My preference is ‘average speed’ cameras which calculate your journey. We also have to take into account registration plates [which speed cameras can recognise] – working with the Transport Control Department and making sure people have the correct registration plates.

“That is not going to happen overnight in this period of austerity. There are some models out there that are self sufficient.“

Mr Cardwell said there had been an increase in prosecutions for cell phone use while driving.

The BPS has also launched an online reporting portal where members of the public can instantly upload videos and pictures of any road traffic offences they witness.

The site is available at: https://portal.police.bm/operation-vega

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Published July 07, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated July 07, 2021 at 8:01 am)

Police launch Operation Vega to crack down on road offences

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