Police Minister and Senior Police launch Operation "WestForce" - Western NSW

Friday, 03 March 2017 09:30:18 AM

Traffic and Highway Patrol officers will be blitzing roads across the western region over the next six weeks during operation WestForce in a bid to stem the increasing road toll.

Today, the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, the Honourable Mr. Troy Grant, and senior police have unveiled a new addition to the Traffic & Highway Patrol Command fleet, a Volvo XC60.

Seven Volvo XC60 and seven Toyota Lancruisers will soon be added to the current fleet of vehicles for the Traffic & Highway Patrol Command and will be used in rural areas in order to drive down the road toll.

Operation WestForce is a rapid deployment, high-visibility policing operation aimed at driving down the rising road toll in the western region.

Tragically, the road toll has risen steadily over the past three years in the western region; 40 lives were lost in 2014, 55 were lost in 2015, and 64 were lost in 2016. Since the start of the year, we have already lost 47 lives.

Operation WestForce hopes to emulate the positive impact of Operation NorthForce, which took place in the Northern Region in October last year.

During Operation WestForce officers from the Traffic & Highway Patrol Command, assisted by officers from Local Area Commands, will be out in force over the next six weeks (Friday 3 March to Monday 10 April), targeting speeding, seatbelts, drink and drug driving, fatigue, and driver distraction; including mobile phone use.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, the Honourable Troy Grant said, dangerous driving will not be tolerated during the operation.

“The NSW Government has a strong track record of providing our Police Force with the state-of-the-art equipment it needs to keep the community safe, and these new highway patrol vehicles will complement our efforts to reduce the tragic road trauma statistics across regional NSW.

“Operation West Force is about putting drivers on notice – dangerous behaviour will not be tolerated on our roads, and police will be out in force to catch anyone putting lives at risk behind the wheel.”

Westerrn Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie, said that the aim of the operation is to educate drivers about the dangers in the area and to drive down the road toll.

“Over the past three years, we have seen a steady increase in people losing their lives on roads in the western region. This is a trend that needs to stop.

“Nearly three-quarters of fatal crashes in the region have been on roads with a speed limit of more than 100km/h and more than half of the fatal crashes are single-vehicle crashes.

“This operation is about educating drivers and deterring drivers who are putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk.

“Over the next six weeks we will be targeting towns within the region, including Dubbo, Tamworth, Armidale, and Bathurst and the highways that run in between them.

“Today I am sending out a warning to drivers that can’t obey road rules in those areas,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

Acting Commander of the Traffic & Highway Patrol Command, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said Operation Westforce is an important initiative in rural areas.

“Today I am excited to be unveiling the new Volvo XC60. Seven new Volvos, along with seven new Toyota Landcruisers, will be added to our fleet and will be used to police rural areas.

“The new vehicles were chosen and fitted out in order to access and police off-road areas where a sedan may have difficulties.

“During Operation Westforce, there will be more than double the number of cars on patrol, looking for speeding, drink and drug driving, seatbelt and mobile phone offences.

“Police will be targeting areas where there has been an increase in fatal and serious injury crashes in order to drive down the road toll.

“From today onwards, we will not hesitate in booking and taking licences away from anyone who can’t drive responsibly,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.