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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 July 2006, 20:31 GMT 21:31 UK
Traffic officers cut police load
Dedicated traffic officers are taking to the roads in the north-east of England from Wednesday.

The uniformed officers have been recruited by the Highways Agency and will free up police to focus on crime.

Duties include clearing up debris, dealing with minor collisions and stopping and directing traffic.

Although they have no power of arrest, under the Traffic Management Act 2004, it is an offence not to comply with their directions.

The traffic officers wear high visibility yellow and orange uniforms and work from marked vehicles which carry an extensive kit, from cones and warning signs, to dog poles and hot food.

'Reduce casualties'

They will operate round-the-clock patrols on the A1, A1(M), A194(M) and the A195(M).

Divisional director for the Highways Agency in the North, Arthur Ashburner, said: "Traffic Officers in other regions have already provided assistance in every imaginable kind of situation, as well as freeing up police time to focus on criminality."

Cleveland Police Assistant Chief Constable Adam Briggs said: "Speaking on behalf of the police service in the North Eastern Region, I welcome the introduction of the officers.

"Their highly visible patrol vehicles will assist in the on-going fight to moderate driver behaviour and therefore reduce casualties.

"Their deployment to the scenes of less complex incidents will also allow the patrolling police officers to concentrate on dealing with criminality and other key priorities."




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