Police blitz sets record
SOUTH Gippsland’s largest traffic enforcement operation yet was run by the Bass Coast Highway Patrol to warn holiday drivers police are out in force this summer.
Named Operation SQUEEZE, members from the highway patrol, along with assistance from local police and a contingent of members from the force’s Operational Response Unit, were able to dedicate significant resources towards ensuring the roads were as safe as possible.
Highway patrol Sergeant Jason Hullick said the operation began on Friday, December 28 when 30 police officers and 14 vehicles conducted a road block near the Caltex Service Station on the Bass Highway at Bass.
Police once again deployed the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) van on the highway to scan number plates of vehicles passing through the area over the New Year period.
“As well as targeting unlicensed drivers and unregistered vehicles, we also had the booze bus stationed on site and police members conducted over 1800 preliminary breath tests. The pleasing thing about this is that we did not detect any drivers over the legal limit,” Sgt Hullick said.
Sgt Hullick said the ANPR van scanned 3600 vehicles, with 45 detected ‘vehicles of interest’ and the drivers waved into a processing area where further enquiries were made.
As a result of the ANPR detections, police issued more than 20 infringement notices for various offences, including 10 unregistered vehicles, and also interviewed five unlicensed drivers.
One motorist, a 55-year-old man from Bass, was intercepted after he was seen reversing up the Bass Highway away from the police road block.
When asked why he was trying to avoid the road block he said he thought it was an accident scene, and received a ticket for reversing in dangerous conditions.
“Any motorists travelling on the Bass Highway near the 24 hour Caltex service station would have seen a fairly impressive sight with the amount of police vehicles and members present,” Sgt Hullick said.
“Operation SQUEEZE was all about sending a message that there would be strong police presence around the area over the holiday period.”
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