Meet the traffic cops

PC Cameran Buchan - for traffic police feature
PC Cameran Buchan - for traffic police feature

car chases and crashes are all in a day’s work for Calderdale’s traffic cops.

But it’s not all like you see on TV.

The Western Area Roads Policing team are tasked with keeping the whole of the district’s roads safe and legal.

Anyone tempted to risk their own and anyone else’s safety by breaking beware - they will be looking out for you.

The team includes PC Cameron Buchan, who has been in the police force for 18 years, and a traffic cop for the last 10 of those.

“I’d wanted to be a police officer for a long time,” he said. “A friend’s father was a police officer and he used to have all these stories. It sounded exciting and varied.

“I also wanted to help people and try to make a difference. I never fancied a desk job, I always wanted to work with people.”

PC Buchan worked in a variety of different teams before coming to roads policing and his posts have included helping police the G8 summit where he met FBI agents protecting the then President of America George Bush.

Now as a traffic cop, he spends the time when he is not called out to incidents on patrol across the district.

The roads policing officers find their presence alone provides a crime-deterrent but they keep a close eye out for offences and tackle roads-related neighbourhood policing team priorities such as speeding.

They are extremely eagle-eyed, able to spot someone driving while using their mobile or passengers not properly belted-up at quite a distance.

Some people who they catch speeding will ask why they are not concentrating on catching burglars or other criminals.

But PC Buchan says the number of people who kill people who break into houses is far less than those who speed or drive while on their phones.

All traffic officers know that stopping a driver for what might seem like a minor offence can often lead to discovering more serious law-breaking.

For example, if they spot a car without tax, they will immediately question if that person has also thought about skipping paying for insurance or an MOT to check the vehicle is safe to be on the road.

PC Buchan says there are some common ploys used to avoid paying car insurance, such as taking out a policy but not paying or to cancel it and not send the insurance certificate back.

But the police are able to check that every car on the road has the correct insurance just by making one call.

PC Buchan says he finds a high percentage of the people driving while using their mobile phones are young men.

He warns the crime, along with that of drink driving, risks people’s lives

“You can’t expect anyone to have sympathy for you if you drink drive. We all know it’s against the law and it has become a social taboo,” he said.

The drink drive limit is currently at 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, but the effect of alcohol varies from one person to another.

PC Buchan, who has breathalysed thousands of people during his career, says they discover people driving while over the limit at all times of the day and night.

Often he says people will find themselves guilty of the crime when driving the morning after a night out.

He said the only safe way to ensure you are not over the limit is not to drive at all after drinking.