8th April 2022

Letter from Andrew Griffith MP – Motorcycle noise and roads policing

I am writing to provide you with an update on the issue of motorcycle noise and anti-social driving on our local roads. With Easter approaching and the expectation of finer weather we will undoubtedly see issues arise and upset about speeding and excessive noise. I absolutely share those concerns! 

Last week, I wrote to the Chief Constable Jo Shiner of Sussex Police to seek reassurance that Operation Downsway will continue. I am grateful for her commitment to prioritise anti-social driving and establishing Operation Downsway two years ago. The Chief Constable’s speedy reply gives assurance that Operation Downsway is continuing with a more visible and vigorous police enforcement, and that Sussex Police has in fact already launched their annual campaign with focus on the hotspots I have highlighted to them, including the A29, A272 and Bury Hill. Their first weekend saw 46 offences recorded – these included excess speeding and driving without due care on the A29. 

Every weekend between April and September officers are set to take part in a focussed operation, providing a ‘highly visible presence’ on the Sussex road network and taking enforcement action where necessary. They will be using a variety of tactics including automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and drones. Police aim to reduce the ‘fatal five’ factors that lead to people being killed or seriously hurt on roads. These are: driving at excess speed, drink and/or drug-driving, not wearing a seatbelt, careless and anti-social driving, and being distracted while driving (such as by using mobile phones). 

Sussex Police will be working with the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP), the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Community Speed Watch groups and Operation Crackdown. Casualty Reduction officers, and Mobile Speed Enforcement Vans will also be involved. 

On April 28th, Sussex Police will be hosting an event to highlight Operation Downsway activity, to explain what is new for this year and invite questions. I expect details to be available soon through your parish council. 

I also asked Chief Constable Jo Shiner for a single point of contact at Sussex Police for issues regarding driving offences more generally (not reporting offences). I have been told they will soon be appointing someone who will perform the role of stakeholder host and provide regular updates. They will also be my first point of contact to feed in constituent reports. 

You may also be aware that the Government has announced plans to reform penalties for drug-drivers. More than 700 people were seriously injured in drug-drive collisions in 2020, and police arrests are also on the rise. I saw first-hand the damage caused by impaired drivers when I went out on patrol with Operation Downsway and I recognise this is another important part of their work, keeping drug-drivers off our roads. 

I will continue to support Sussex Police in their activities and champion rural policing and road policing as key priorities, and I will continue to keep you updated. 

Andrew Griffith MP