Uttlesford cops say car safety course proves ‘boy racer’ critics are wrong

The Motorwise event at Carver Barracks.

The Motorwise event at Carver Barracks. - Credit: Archant

UTTLESFORD’S Inspector has hit back at claims not enough is being done to educate young motorists.

Insp Colin Cox disputed the claims of councillor and former police officer Doug Perry, who criticised the force for not doing enough to curb what he said had been a rise in the number of “boy racers” in the town.

“We had a huge problem with boy racers and drifters up at Stumps Cross last year but in the past eight months have only had one complaint [in relation to boy racers in Saffron Walden],” said Insp Cox.

“Local officers continue to work hard with all young and potentially new drivers, as clearly evidenced by the recent Motorwise scheme, which involves various different agencies working together in order to educate soon to be new users of our roads.”

However, Cllr Perry was adamant more needed to be done.

“The police have lost control of Saffron Walden. We might as well give it to the kids to run,” he said.

“Every year we get a group of kids leave school, buy cars and come on to the roads. They get one week a year where they learn about vehicle maintenance but that’s not enough. We need police on the streets advising people – there is nothing better than officers doing routine stop checks.”

Most Read

Cllr Perry’s biggest gripes are motorists using their phone while driving and cars not suitably equipped to be on the roads.

“Boy racers run this town – the number of blue lights I see on the bottom of vehicles. There are also lots of what I call ‘one-eyed monsters’ where one of the headlights has failed.

“People with phones are my biggest hate – there are so many people driving while on the phone.”

Insp Cox added: “Officers continue to enforce any breaches of traffic law that occur, however it is in the best interest of all parties concerned to improve driving standards and behaviours through education and schemes such as Motorwise.”

Uttlesford District Council’s community safety officer Martin Ford, also a former police officer, has been spearheading Motorwise, the eight-day road safety initiative held at Carver Barracks.

It began last week and is run by the district council and its partners in the Community Safety Partnership, including Essex Police, with the aim of educating 16 and 17-year-olds about all things automotive.

Mr Ford said: “This is an example of the Uttlesford Community Safety Partnership all working together with the intention of delivering an interactive safety awareness course for young people who may soon be learning to drive.

“We want to get across the point that driving can be fun but also dangerous, so young people need to be aware of the risks and consequences of their actions.”

The course included a law quiz, drugs and alcohol workshop, basic maintenance, hazard awareness and driving techniques. Each of the teenagers also got the chance to drive a car with qualified instructors.