To raise concerns with me about speeding and anti-social vehicle behaviour in south Swindon, please email email@example.com
Update 17th December 2023
Sir Robert Buckland MP Welcomes Proactive Police Response To Car Meet In Swindon
Operation Staysail, Wiltshire Police Force's response to car meets, responded proactively last night to ensure that a meet planned for Swindon caused minimum disruption to the public.
Officers from different units, including Roads Policing, evidence gathering vehicles and public order, attended the meet in different locations to provide public reassurance and to ensure the safety of the public and those who chose to attend.
Half a dozen vehicle examinations were carried out with the DVSA, one vehicle was prohibited for being unsafe, one vehicle on false plates was seized and one person was reported for having no insurance.
Police also made one arrest for drug driving and this person has been taken to custody for questioning.
Sir Robert Buckland MP said: "I welcome this proactive and positive response by Wiltshire Police, which saw officers from different units attending the meet in various locations, with a strong focus on providing public reassurance and ensuring the safety of the public, as well those who chose to attend.
" I share the Force’s view that the majority of genuine car enthusiasts meet lawfully and do so in a manner that does not cause distress to local residents. However, it is important that action is taken when anyone chooses to behave in an anti-social manner, which causes disruption to others in our local community.
"I am pleased that as a result of this proactive approach that following vehicle examinations with the DVSA, one unsafe vehicle was prohibited, a vehicle with false plates was seized, and one arrest was made for drug driving.
"There is no place on our roads for unsafe vehicles and drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol."
Chief Superintendent Phil Staynings said:
“As we have said previously, we recognise that genuine car enthusiasts meet lawfully and do so in a manner that doesn’t cause distress to local residents.
“However, we also recognise that the public expects us to act on the small number of people who choose to behave in an antisocial manner and cause disruption to our local communities.
“Working as part of Op Staysail, we will endeavour to ensure the public suffer the minimum amount of disruption from car meets and we will continue to robustly deal with any offences committed.”
Update: 3rd October 2023
South Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland supports police witnesses appeal following collision at Swindon car meet
Sir Robert Buckland MP is supporting police in their appeal for witnesses to come forward following a collision at the Hawksworth Industrial Estate last weekend where four people were injured.
At just before 11pm on Saturday night (30/09) two cars were drifting around a group of people but one has lost control and collided with a car parked to the side.
Four people were injured with one being taken to hospital with potentially serious injuries. They were later discharged with minor injuries.
Police believe that four cars were involved in this incident, one left the scene.
Wiltshire Police’s Road Policing Unit are investigating what happened that night at the car meet and watching any footage they receive to try to identify any offences that took place.
Sir Robert, who has been working closely with Wiltshire Police and partner agencies including Swindon Borough Council, to try to prevent speeding and anti-social behaviour involving vehicles in the town said:
“I would urge anyone who saw what happened or who has footage from that night to please contact the police.
“It is extremely concerning to hear that several people were injured, and it is also really concerning to hear that officers attending were greeted with hostility, with some damage being inflicted to a vehicle and a substance being sprayed onto police officers. This is totally unacceptable behaviour.
“This issue has been around for a while, and last summer, I worked closely with Swindon Police and Swindon Borough Council in order to tackle the issue at the Bridgemead Retail Park, and we saw the courts grant a partial closure in that area. It may well be that similar action will now need to be taken to prevent car meetings from taking place at the Hawksworth Industrial Estate.
“The key message is that whilst car enthusiasm is a great pastime, loved by many people in our area, when it turns into this sort of behaviour it is not acceptable, it’s criminality and I will fully support the police who are working to deal with it.”
PC Craig Beales, of the Roads Policing Unit said:
“This was a serious incident which could have ended very badly. If the woman injured had been standing in front of the parked car her injuries could have been life changing if not life threatening.
If you can help police with their enquiries, please contact us on 101 quoting reference number 54230103904.
Update 18th July 2023
I was pleased to receive an update last week on Project Zero, a roads policing operation held every week at a different location in the county. It sees officers targeting drivers committing any of the fatal five offences (driving at excess speed, drink/drug driving, using a phone whilst driving, not wearing a seatbelt, or driving in a careless or dangerous manner) in a bid to reduce the number of casualties on our roads.
A number of check sites were set up across the town last week, where officers gave advice on tyres, lights, and window tints to name a few, as well as checking all vehicle-related documentation was in place. During the day, a total of seventy-two motoring offences were detected, which ranged from speeding, failure to wear seat belts, and using mobile phones whilst driving, as well as vehicles with insecure loads and disqualified drivers.
As part of my ongoing campaign, I am urging local residents who have got concerns to get in touch and use the online reporting tool on the Wiltshire Police website here: Report a road traffic incident | Wiltshire Police This will enable the roads policing team to continue to effectively target specific areas of concern here in Swindon as part of their ongoing work.
Update 1st December 2022
Op Staysail update
I have been in touch with Wiltshire Police who inform me that they are still very much looking at this issue and adapting their response to suit the information they are receiving.
Wiltshire Police continue to hold joint meetings with Swindon Borough Council and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, which take place once every two weeks. In these meetings they look at data readouts which come from logs added after the public report issues relating to car meets. A dramatic decrease in reports for the month of November was noted and this was reflected in other feedback we have had.
We suspected this was likely down to a couple of factors, including Op Staysail activity but also a change in the weather.
It is concerning to see that reports via social media have been picked up and Wiltshire Police have been looking into this, as it may counter data they are having from car meets. There is of course the possibility that the car noise being reported is emanating from road users rather than a meet per-se, and whilst that would fall outside of the remit of Op Staysail, it is acknowledged that it may very well be having a similar impact on the community.
Some of the work ongoing in Staysail will be beneficial to the issue of general noisy vehicles, in conjunction with Gloucestershire Police we are exploring whether or not Wiltshire, Swindon and Gloucestershire can become involved in the rollout of a new noise detecting camera solution which can detect excessively noisy vehicles, record evidence of the violation and automatically issue a fixed penalty notice. This would be a fantastic solution which would tackle the issue of noisy vehicles and at the same time enable police to free up our valuable road policing assets to focus on high risk behaviour on our roads, particularly around the fatal 5.
We will continue to monitor the occurrence of car meets closely, should it be identified that meets are picking up again, we will be keen to review our current tactics and respond with operations as is required.
Police are continuing to prosecute several offenders which is as a result of Staysail, but most of these are from offences during the peak period leading up to November. We have had some fantastic results which have been published to our communities via social media.
The overarching work of staysail is looking at the issue from different angles, our approach is currently summarised into 4 strands, Engagement, Intervention, Legal Sanctions and Target Hardening. If a lull in car meets is seen, we will be focussing our efforts on Engagement and Target hardening making the most out of any lull in activity.
Update 3rd August 2022
Speeding and Anti-Social Vehicle Behaviour – Police target disruptive car meets in Swindon
On Sunday, police responded to reports of anti-social behaviour at a gathering of more than 100 vehicles in West Swindon.
Thank you to all of the local residents who continue to report incidents to the police as and when they happen and follow this up by emailing me.
Officers reported individuals for a total of 16 offences including speeding, issued one fixed penalty notice and required one driver to fix a defect on their vehicle.
Officers also identified five vehicles with illegal view-obstructing stickers - ordering their immediate removal.
Inspector Andrew Moreton said: “We recognise that many car enthusiasts wish to gather with likeminded people, and it is not the aim of Op Staysail to target those who do so in a lawful and peaceful manner.
“However, for those that intend to drive dangerously and cause serious distress to our local communities, they should understand that my officers will take proactive measures to disrupt this behaviour and will use all powers available to us, including prosecution of individuals for criminal offences."
I will continue to work closely with Swindon police, as well as Swindon Borough Council in our ongoing multi agency approach to tackle speeding and anti-social vehicle behaviour here in Swindon on behalf of local residents, particularly those in West Swindon.
If you witness anti-social behaviour please report it on 101 or on our website: Report antisocial behaviour | Wiltshire Police
In an emergency please call 999.
Please continue to flag incidents and any areas/roads of concern to me by emailing robert.buckland.mp@parliament .uk
I have also written to the Transport Secretary this week, to push for audible cameras here in Swindon. One of the issues raised with me frequently by local residents is anti-social vehicle noise, and acoustic cameras can be used to detect illegally loud engines and exhausts.
Update: 1st August 2022
I have written to the Transport Secretary this week, to push for audible cameras here in Swindon. One of the issues raised with me frequently by local residents is anti-social vehicle noise, and acoustic cameras can be used to detect illegally loud engines and exhausts.
My Letter can be found below:
Dear The Rt Hon Grant Shapps
I am writing on behalf of many local constituents here in Swindon, who have been in regular contact with me over several years now, to raise concerns about Speeding and Anti-Social Vehicle Behaviour here in the town.
In 2019, I decided to begin a local Speeding and Anti-Social Vehicle Behaviour Campaign as the emails I received from concerned residents began to rise weekly.
Those who are impacted the most by this issue are residents in West Swindon, where regular car meets were taking place.
I have been working alongside Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Police in a multi-agency approach to tackle this issue, and we currently have temporary closure orders in place in the most affected areas.
Residents are often kept awake during the night, due to vehicle noise from modified vehicles, including loud exhaust popping, the revving of engines, vehicle spins, and burnouts. The lack of sleep, stress, and anxiety that this issue is causing has massively impacted on the lives of many local people. Education is affected in local schools, and the local economy has also been affected, not to mention the impact on the local NHS.
As set out in the Government’s Levelling Up white paper, noise complaints are highest among the most economically deprived areas, with those in more disadvantaged areas as much as three times as likely to suffer from noise nuisance and, here in Swindon, we have several economically deprived areas.
I first wrote to you about this issue on 5th October 2020, and you responded with details about the Department of Transport commissioned research to assess whether an acoustic camera could be used to detect illegal and excessively noisy vehicles. I am aware that since then, there have been trials in several areas, and I would be extremely grateful if you could provide me with the latest update on these trials.
I am extremely keen for acoustic cameras to be trialled here in Swindon, where this issue has a massive impact on the lives of local residents, and I look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter.
The Rt Hon Sir Robert Buckland KBE QC MP
Member of Parliament for South Swindon
21 July 2022
Yesterday, 20th July 2022 the North East and Rural Swindon Police Neighbourhood Team ran a joint operation with Roads Policing colleagues, the Road Safety Officer, Traffic Enforcement Officer and Community Speedwatch Teams.
The overriding theme of the day was improving road safety across the area. Listening to feedback from the community, utilising the statistics available to them through historical road incidents and intelligence scanning helped to shape the day.
Working together they were able to target a larger area providing opportunities for engagement, education and enforcement. The results from the day are summarised below.
Thamesdown Drive – 12 Traffic Offence Reports issued for speeding, ranging from 49mph to 57mph (whereby the driver may be referred for a speed awareness course, a fine and or their driving licence endorsed with points or to attend court depending on whether there have been previous convictions), one driver arrested on suspicion of drug driving and 34 drivers given words of advice.
South Marston – one vehicle seized for no tax. The driver / owner will now be responsible for the unpaid tax, a fine and the recovery / storage fees.
Inglesham – 4 drivers were captured exceeding the 40mph limit, the highest captured was 52mph, they will now be given the most appropriate outcome as described previously.
Ermin Street, Blunsdon – 1 driver reported to court for traveling at 67mph in a 30mph limit.
Swindon Road, Wroughton – 2 Traffic Offence Reports issued for speeding, recorded speeds of 53mph and 56mph in the 30mph area and 14 driver given words of advice.
Liddington – 1 driver was issued a Traffic Offence Report for using a mobile phone while driving.
Sevenhampton and Merlin Way, Covingham were targeted for vehicles travelling through weight restrictions, we are pleased to report that no infringements were identified.
Other locations targeted during the operation were Wanborough, Eldene Drive, St Pauls Drive and Liden Drive. No offences were identified in these locations.
Community Speedwatch set up three sessions in various locations in Highworth and in total captured 35 drivers travelling in excess of 36mph in a 30mph limit. These drivers will receive a letter informing of them of the incident and educating around the dangers of speeding.
Update: 12 July 2022
A Multi-Agency Meeting was held at my request, to discuss the work currently taking place in Swindon to tackle speeding and anti-social vehicle behaviour, as well as longer-term plans.
Attendees included Cllr Cathy Martyn, Cabinet Member for Public Safety, representatives from the Swindon Borough Council Highways team, the Swindon Borough Council Strategic Transport and Infrastructure team, the Swindon Borough Council Legal team, the Swindon Borough Council Safeguarding (Adults/Children) & Community Safety team, SGT Andrew Poole, representing the Swindon Police Neighbourhood Teams, and Sergeant Joel Coombes, Strategic Support Officer to Head of Force Operations at Wiltshire Police.
I was updated on all multi-agency work taking place, as well as receiving separate updates from a policing point of view, and from the relevant teams at Swindon Borough Council.
I can assure local residents that there is a lot of work and evidence gathering taking place behind the scenes. Although I am unable to disclose details of further operations planned, a further update will be made available to residents over the next few weeks.
I would encourage local residents and local businesses to continue to report all instances of speeding and anti-social vehicle behaviour to the police, as and when they happen. This will help the police to target the most affected areas and continue to gather vital evidence.
I will continue to work with local residents to tackle this issue.
Update 20th May 2022
Along with Cllr Suresh Gattapur, I have been working closely with Swindon Police, Swindon Borough Council, Sainsbury’s, and other local businesses at the Bridgemead Retail Park here in Swindon to tackle the issue of anti-social vehicle behaviour on behalf of local residents.
A partial closure order is now in place, and we continue our work to explore long-term solutions with Sainsbury's who are looking to implement several initiatives that will look to reduce the anti-social use of vehicles, enhance the customer experience and reduce the harassment to local residents the vehicles can cause.
After the closure order, we were pleased that last weekend was generally quiet in the area.
Furthermore, last week, the Roads Policing Team carried out a day of action here in Swindon, targeting those who fail to abide by the law of our roads.
Several drivers were caught using a handheld mobile phone which is illegal, even when you are stopped at traffic lights, queuing in traffic, or supervising a learning driver. The road requires your full attention at all times and replying to or reading messages, no matter how important they seem could result in a serious accident and loss of life.
Update 21st May 2022
I have been in contact with Swindon Police after several local residents got in touch with me to raise issues of speeding, racing and anti social vehicle behaviour escalating in the town, particularly in the West Swindon area.
I am glad that following numerous reports, local neighbourhood policing teams have been working in conjunction with partner agencies, as well as land owners and the retail outlets, to deter and resolve the issues raised.
Following this, a Partial Closure Notice has been authorised and put in place at the Car Park of Sainsburys Supermarket and B&M off of Paddington Drive, Swindon.
Police will be enforcing this and anyone breaching the Partial Closure Notice could be liable for arrest and or a fine.
Wiltshire Police will also be out in the area of Swindon this evening 21/05/22 conducting speed checks, enforcing and educating those that attend the area that a Partial Closure Notice is now in place.
I will continue to work closely with Police here in Swindon, as well as partner agencies to tackle this issue on behalf of local residents.
Update: 9th September 2021
Robert Buckland MP has joined forces with Swindon Driving Instructor, Tom Kingsley to raise awareness about learner driver abuse in the town, as part of his local campaign to tackle anti-social driving.
You can find the full story here: https://www.robertbuckland.co.uk/news/south-swindon-mp-robert-buckland-joins-forces-swindon-driving-instructor-target-learner-driver
Update - All Areas of Swindon - 27th July 2021
On Saturday evening (24/07), Swindon Police spent a lot of time dealing with a large group of cars, which were driving around the town.
A number of calls were made by concerned local residents to the police about the noise and standards of driving.
I am working closely with Wiltshire Police, Swindon Borough Council and local businesses who were directly affected, in order to prevent unlicensed car meets from taking place.
Advice is being taken from other police forces who have successfully dealt with this issue on the measures they’ve taken to stop if from happening where they are.
This is a matter that is being taken seriously and I would urge local residents to continue to report concerns to police through the website Report antisocial behaviour | Wiltshire Police or by calling 101.
If you are a South Swindon resident with concerns, you can also raise these with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information on my Anti-social driving behaviour and speeding campaign can be found on my website here: https://www.robertbuckland.co.uk/campaigns/anti-social-vehicle-behaviour-and-speeding-campaign
Update - All Areas of Swindon - July 6th 2021
I have been contacted by several local residents who have raised complaints about further anti-social vehicle behaviour and noise during the weekend of 26th and 27th June. This issue seemed to affect West Swindon residents in particular.
I have been in touch with Wiltshire Police to raise this issue on behalf of residents and I have been informed that members of the Neighbourhood Policing Teams in Swindon have met with HQ Operations and will be working with partners and key stakeholders to implement a number of preventative and enforcement solutions, ranging from the short to long term.
This includes action against those identified from attending previous meets.
I am in close liaison with our Neighbourhood Policing Teams, as well as the wider Swindon Community Policing Team and I will continue to do all I can to support local residents with this issue.
Update for West Swindon - 23rd November 2020
West Swindon Policing Lead, Insp Carly Nesbitt has provided the following update:
Last week was Road Safety Week with the focus on speeding. We asked our Roads Policing Unit to target the West Swindon area and Neighbourhood Officers have been out conducting speed checks. We will also be using some of the dedicated proactive shifts in December to carry out further targeted work.
The next West Swindon Community Safety Group meeting is due to take place this week. The membership of this group includes ward and parish councillors as well as police, Swindon Borough Council and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue. The group will set the local priorities for the area and I anticipate that this subject will be raised.
A trigger plan has been put together, although has not been fully activated due to lockdown. In the meantime we have been looking to see if we can acquire ANPR in the area and units have been continuing to patrol and engage with those present. Whilst there have on occasions been a congregation of cars, it would seem that their objective is to meet up and it is a small minority who are causing the issues. We will also discuss with Swindon Borough Council the feasibility of traffic calming in the area.
The issue very much remains on our agenda. However with a number of vacancies being held and some significant operational incidents occurring, coupled with our focus also being required on COVID, we have had to prioritise.
Update - 5th November 2020
I have received the following response from Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport.
Thank you for your email of 5 October on behalf of your constituents, about the impact of excessive vehicle noise.
The Department for Transport takes the impacts of road noise on health, wellbeing and the natural environment seriously. Strict noise regulations for cars and motorbikes are harmonised at an international level and require vehicles to demonstrate compliance before being placed on the market. Replacement silencers that are to be used on the road must also meet strict noise limits that are aligned with those of the original vehicle.
With regards to enforcement, the police have ongoing powers to act if they suspect an exhaust has been altered to increase noise under Regulation 54 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, or under Regulation 97 if the vehicle is making excessive noise which could be avoided through reasonable driver care. In such cases, drivers may receive a fixed penalty notice and/or have their vehicle taken off the road until the exhaust is made compliant. I would encourage your constituents to bring such cases to the attention of the police to ensure they are given an appropriate priority.
In order to support police efforts, the Department has commissioned research to assess whether an acoustic camera could be used to detect illegal and excessively noisy vehicles. The prototype acoustic camera included a combination of microphone and camera, in conjunction with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), to enable excessively noisy vehicles to be detected from the roadside as they pass by. The Department is currently considering the outcome of the research and whether the technology could lead to more targeted and efficient enforcement.
For the acoustic camera to become a worthwhile technological solution for enforcement, it will need to demonstrate, beyond the balance of probabilities, that an offence has occurred. As a result, further development and testing will be required before it could be recommended for wider scale roll out.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP
SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TRANSPORT
Update - 21st October 2020
Wiltshire Police agree to take action with targetted Campaign
I recently wrote to Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Kier Pritchard to highlight the issue of anti-social vehicle behaviour and speeding in the town after several residents contacted me.
Following this, I am pleased that Wiltshire Police have confirmed that they are in the process of organising a targeted campaign to tackle anti-social vehicle behaviour and speeding across Swindon. It is hoped that this targeted campaign will take place by the end of the year.
Update - 10th October 2020
Police request for further information and details
Earlier this week, I contacted Wiltshire Police to request action after several residents contacted me about anti-social vehicle behaviour/noise and speeding. Wiltshire Police have requested as much information from local residents as possible to target this issue. If there is a road in your area of South Swindon where this is taking place regularly, please get in touch with me so that I can pass this information on to the police. Any timings and details are very helpful. Please email this information, along with your name and address to me directly on email@example.com
Update - 7th October 2020
I have been contacted by many local residents raising concerns about anti-social vehicle behaviour and noise. This issue is affecting many people here in Swindon and needs to be targeted. I have today written to the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police to request a Police Campaign of Action to target offenders. I have also raised this issue with the Department of Transport.
Update - 2nd July 2020
The regular Multi-Agency Community Safety Group Meetings have been put on hold due to the COVID Pandemic. It is hoped that a virtual CSG meeting will be held within the next 3 - 4 weeks. In the meantime, Community Policing Team Neighbourhood Inspector Carly Nesbitt has provided the following policing update:
“This has been less of an issue over lockdown although we have had some reports of speeding. Proactive work has been undertaken with our response and Headquarters colleagues and several enforcement sessions have taken place.
“Notable results include one driver stopped for doing 107 mph in a 50mph on Great Western Way. We anticipate that as lockdown reduces and the weather gets better issues may start again.
“A plan is ready and initiatives are in the pipeline with Dorset and Wilts Fire and Rescue to provide education and enforcement responses. Focused patrol will continue.
Minutes from the meeting held in November 2019
Robert met with local residents in West Swindon, as well as Businesses on the Shaw Ridge Complex and the West Swindon Police Lead.
The meeting had no structure and was essentially a free-for-all where residents expressed their concerns to Andy Bridge.
He said that the current situation could be described as an "unacceptable equilibrium".
They are keen to avoid ending up with a carpark full of barriers like that at Greenbridge, but something has to be done.
The police have previously brought in a mobile CCTV van, but that only resulted in the problem moving from the South carpark to the one in the North, which resulted in more businesses being disrupted.
There is a significant problem with tire marks.
Local businesses are asking residents to pass on any information they have onto the police - it is imperative that everything gets logged.
This is not just a Saturday night problem; it happens most nights until 3am and affects every main road in the surrounding area. Residents cannot leave their windows open in the summer because of the noise. "The last two years have been hell".
Residents say they are reporting to the police on a regular basis and that local Facebook groups are full of complaints. They complain that there is not a sufficient police presence in the local area.
It is clear that noise is the main issue.
They ask for more cameras to be installed to cover the South car park.
Inspector Andy Bridge - Police
He made it clear that the police have been working on this issue for some time. He said there is evidence of this action on their social media channels.
The police have been working with businesses to see what more they can do to deter anti-social behaviour.
They will continue to look into ways they can tackle the locations where they gather (target-hidden = cameras, ANPR, barriers etc).
The police have been doing speed checks and have been talking to insurance companies about modified cars.
Whitehill Way and Mead Way have been sector priorities for the police. However, their action is limited due to resources.
Andy urged people to give them any dashboard clips they have. He made it clear though, if residents are unwilling to have that evidence be heard in court under their name, there is nothing that can be done in relation to prosecution, but it can nonetheless be used as intelligence.
Need people to give dashboard clips, but without agreeing to have that evidence be heard in court under their name, there is nothing that can be done. But it will be used as intelligence.
Further Actions Following The Meeting
Following the meeting in November, Inspector Andy Bridge has retired. Inspector Carly Nesbitt is the new Neighbourhood Inspector for West Swindon and her update is below. Robert has requested a meeting with Inspector Nesbitt to further discuss this issue.
“I am pleased to say that things appear to have died down since your meeting in November. I met with the Parish Clerk yesterday who did not raise it as an issue, and I have checked our logs for the past 28 days and there is only one report of ASB involving a vehicle in that location.
“I am aware however that as the weather gets better, we may expect more incidents, so I will liaise with the team and our Roads Policing Unit so we can formulate a proactive plan. Additionally, the Parish Clerk and I are in the process of setting up a Community Safety Group for the Parish which will give us a platform for a multi-agency response to community issues, which may include this.”
Further comments from Robert
According to police records, there has only been one report of ASB involving a vehicle in the area within the past 28 days. I would encourage all residents and local businesses to continue to report all instances and contact me so that I am aware and can keep an accurate record prior to my meeting with Inspector Carly Nesbitt.
I will continue to work with local residents to tackle this issue.