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Suffolk Police support campaign highlighting the dangers of driving whilst using a mobile phone
Suffolk Police are supporting a national campaign to crack down on drivers using phones while at the wheel.

The Mobile Phone Campaign, which starts Monday 21 February 2022, will run until Sunday 27 February, coinciding with a nationwide #StandingUpForHangingUp campaign led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

The aim of the campaign is to change the behaviour of drivers and highlight the consequences of using a mobile phone whilst driving. This does not only refer to those making calls, but also those who may be checking texts, emails or those scrolling through social media.

As part of the campaign officers from the Roads and Armed Policing Team and Road Casualty Reduction Team will be carrying-out extra patrols using both marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles, all fitted with cameras to obtain evidence to help ensure successful prosecutions.

Drivers committing this offence will automatically receive six points on their driving licence and a £200 fine. For new drivers (those driving for less than two years) they could have their licence taken off them.

Motorists can also be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention for using their phone when behind the wheel, particularly if caught filming, watching videos or taking pictures for example.

Between February 2021 and January 2022 Suffolk Police issued 125 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) to motorists caught using a mobile phone whilst driving.

Chief Inspector Jon Chapman, Head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: "Driving whilst using a mobile is extremely dangerous and one of the four main contributory factors of fatal or serious collision. Others include not wearing a seatbelt, speeding or drink or drug driving.

“Using your phone while driving also means you are less likely to notice or react to hazards and causes poor lane discipline.

“Whilst we tackle these offences all year round, awareness campaigns like this are a great opportunity to dedicate extra resources across road networks in both counties, in order to clamp down on these drivers who pose a risk.

“Whoever you are calling, texting or replying to would not want to compromise your safety or the safety of other road users. If you know you could be tempted to reply, leave your phone in the glove compartment or better, switch it off.

“No matter what your driving ability, glancing down at your phone means you are not aware of what is happening around you. It only takes a second for circumstances to change and for you to be involved in a collision, either with another road user, or a pedestrian.”

"Also, a common misconception is that a handsfree device is a safe option. We have seen that this can be equally as distracting.

"We all have a responsibility to keep our roads safe and we are urging drivers to think twice and don’t be tempted to use your phone whilst driving. It is not worth the risk.”

Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police Crime and Commissioner, added: “I wholeheartedly support the #StandingUpForHangingUp campaign.

“Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives. It absolutely horrifies me when I see drivers on their phones and sadly, despite risks and the fines, we still see it all too often.

“I know I have said it before, but the best way to improve safety on our roads is for every driver to remember the fatal four and put your phone out of reach, belt up, watch your speed and don’t drink or take drugs if you are going to drive, that really shouldn’t be so difficult.”

For safety messages and updates throughout the campaign please visit the Suffolk Police Facebook and Twitter accounts or visit @NSRAPT using the hashtag #StandingUpForHangingUp

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Suffolk Constabulary is warning pet owners to take extra care after seeing a number of dog thefts this year. Sergeant Brian Calver said: "Organised crime groups are actively targeting addresses, with working breeds tending to be those that are favoured by criminals. "The loss of any pet can be devastating to owners, with the added trauma of not knowing what sort of conditions the dog is being subjected to. We would advise dog owners to review security of any outdoor kennels.” 

There have been 12 confirmed cases where dogs have been stolen within the county in 2020, and Sgt Calver said all bar one of the incidents involved the theft of dogs that would be classed as working gun breeds. 

Security measures to prevent thefts include good quality locks and lighting, while consideration should be given to CCTV and sensors as these offer an early alert to the presence of intruders.  

Gardens should be well secured with fencing or hedges, while gates should be kept locked.  

Owners are advised not to leave dogs out in open gardens and yards when they are not at home and, if possible, they should be brought into the house overnight.  

Ensure your dog is chipped and, if neutered, mark the dog’s tag as such as this makes them less attractive to thieves that may want to steal them for breeding. When out walking, if you let your dog off the lead, don’t allow it to leave your sight. 

Sgt Calver also advised dog owners to ensure they were not giving away personal details online. He said: "Consider your security on social media and avoid giving away details that may highlight your address and the fact you have a dog which could be attractive to thieves. We would encourage you to be vigilant of suspicious persons seen around addresses, or any cold callers. Please report such activity, with descriptions of the individuals and their vehicles, as well as sharing those concerns on local watch groups.” 

Sgt Calver also urged owners of other pets to be wary of thieves, saying birds had been stolen too. 

Anybody with any information regarding the theft of dogs or other pets is encouraged to contact Suffolk police via: 

Website: http://www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/existing-report-update

or

Crimestoppers – Contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org

or

Phone – call 101 

Please note in the event of an emergency you should always call 999. 

General crime prevention advice can be found by visiting www.suffolk.police.uk/advice/crime-prevention-z

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Click here for the most recent newsletter from Suffolk Constabulary

Police are urging members of the public to consider installing extra crime prevention measures such as CCTV, security lighting and doorbell cameras as a way to help make their properties more secure. See below

Visit http://www.suffolk.police.uk/advice/home-safety for further home security advice.

Phone: Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Phone – Call 101

Please note in the event of an emergency you should always call 999

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