Police chief: Cruiser operation is working

First published in News

AN OPERATION aimed at combatting more than 2,000 boy racers who travel from as far away as Manchester and Wales to hare around Thurrock’s roads is working, according to the Chief Constable of Essex.

More than 500 vehicles have been stopped on roads around Lakeside shopping centre, leading to four arrests, nine vehicle seizures, four drivers reported for “racing on the highway” and nearly 50 drivers reported for speeding.

The operation, called Wagtail, was launched on July 7 following complaints from local residents, backed by damning video evidence published on the Thurrock Gazette’s website.

As well as showing wreckless driving and racing by young motorists, the videos also showed crowds of spectators gathering perilously by the road as cars sped by.

On August 25, a Dispersal Order was introduced until February 24, covering a large area around Lakeside, meaning boy racers caught meeting in the area can be told to leave and not return, or be arrested.

In his report, police chief Jim Barker-McCardle, pictured, said: “There has been a significant increase in the number of young drivers converging on locations across the county, most notably Lakeside and Basildon. These gatherings are promoted and publicised through Facebook and Twitter.

“In response to reports from local residents, backed up by filmed evidence, of dangerous driving and extreme noise, officers from the Casualty Reduction Unit supported by the Neighbourhood Policing Team from LPA West launched Operation Wagtail.

“This was a structured plan of engagement and enforcement action to minimise the risk to life and property from the actions of the young drivers.

“As a result of increased policing activity, social networking sites are now indicating highway racing will move away from Lakeside to a location outside the county, although there are suggestions that smaller events are being established in Clacton, Harlow and Colchester.”

Chafford Hundred councillor Charlie Key praised the work of the police in tackling the problem.

He said: “The police seized the initiative and grabbed the bull by the horns. I’m getting fewer and fewer complaints from residents about the misery this racing was causing.

“It’s been a big issue effecting many people in Thurrock. The police have done really well, which is fantastic.

“It sends out a message that people can’t come here and flout the law.”

Comments (6)

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9:42am Fri 9 Nov 12

kerryb1903 says...

Regarding Chafford Hundred councillor Charlie Key's comments I have to say this has been going on for the 10 years that I have lived in Chafford and it is "still" going on now. He says he is getting fewer complaints, that is because people get sick of complaining and nothing being done. The Police have never been interested in the concerns I have raised in the past and I haven't seen any Police around the area on a Friday or Saturday night. The powers that be should arrange regular meetings, at maybe, Arena Essex, so that they can show their 'cars' off in a safe environment.
Regarding Chafford Hundred councillor Charlie Key's comments I have to say this has been going on for the 10 years that I have lived in Chafford and it is "still" going on now. He says he is getting fewer complaints, that is because people get sick of complaining and nothing being done. The Police have never been interested in the concerns I have raised in the past and I haven't seen any Police around the area on a Friday or Saturday night. The powers that be should arrange regular meetings, at maybe, Arena Essex, so that they can show their 'cars' off in a safe environment. kerryb1903
  • Score: 0

2:30pm Fri 9 Nov 12

random81 says...

I would love to know where this information comes from?

There is still a massive problem with Boy Racers, on Saturday 27th Oct the noise of cars drifting and wheelspinning went on into the early hours of the morning at least 2am. This was with all our windows shut! Perhaps Mr Charlie Key was out that weekend.

These events are widely advertised on social media and tend to happen on the first Saturday of every month, if the police have the power to stop these meeting happening then I suggest they open their car windows and follow the noise of screeching tyres and fat exhausts!
I would love to know where this information comes from? There is still a massive problem with Boy Racers, on Saturday 27th Oct the noise of cars drifting and wheelspinning went on into the early hours of the morning at least 2am. This was with all our windows shut! Perhaps Mr Charlie Key was out that weekend. These events are widely advertised on social media and tend to happen on the first Saturday of every month, if the police have the power to stop these meeting happening then I suggest they open their car windows and follow the noise of screeching tyres and fat exhausts! random81
  • Score: 0

4:59pm Fri 9 Nov 12

Thurrock Trojan says...

I live in Aveley and I often hear the boy racers at the weekends. I also heard them last weekend, so the problem still exists.
I live in Aveley and I often hear the boy racers at the weekends. I also heard them last weekend, so the problem still exists. Thurrock Trojan
  • Score: 0

5:53pm Fri 9 Nov 12

vinnyh says...

Whilst the amount of cars may of reduced, I wouldn't say the operation has been a resounding success, there's still plenty of noise of a night for those that defy the law.
Whilst the amount of cars may of reduced, I wouldn't say the operation has been a resounding success, there's still plenty of noise of a night for those that defy the law. vinnyh
  • Score: 0

5:31pm Sat 10 Nov 12

A Dermot says...

random81 - Cllr Charlie Key lives 7 miles away in Stanford-le-Hope.
random81 - Cllr Charlie Key lives 7 miles away in Stanford-le-Hope. A Dermot
  • Score: 0

2:07am Sun 18 Nov 12

kerryb1903 says...

Oh well another Saturday night and the boy racers are out in force. We came home an hour ago and no police were in sight yet Operation Wagtail has worked. I wonder how much this has cost the UK Taxpayers because it's all aload if lies! It's now 02.05 and there's screeching of tyres, revving of engines, noisy exhausts and they are blatantly drifting around the roundabouts and racing. I wonder where the boys in blue are, maybe tucked up in bed enjoying the peace and quiet?
Oh well another Saturday night and the boy racers are out in force. We came home an hour ago and no police were in sight yet Operation Wagtail has worked. I wonder how much this has cost the UK Taxpayers because it's all aload if lies! It's now 02.05 and there's screeching of tyres, revving of engines, noisy exhausts and they are blatantly drifting around the roundabouts and racing. I wonder where the boys in blue are, maybe tucked up in bed enjoying the peace and quiet? kerryb1903
  • Score: 0

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