Motorway Patrol UK
Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:11 pm
“We’re not frustrated coppers,” says Tony, who used to work in the control centre at Southern Water (Mike is a qualified advanced driving instructor), after he has climbed back into the car and extinguished the ‘Stop’ message. “In fact, sometimes, we get frustrated with the coppers.”
Mike steers the Discovery to the hard shoulder, and the M26 grand prix resumes. I scan the passing cars for a raised finger. Not one.
“We do get abuse,” says Mike. “They know we have limited powers [TOs have no powers of arrest and cannot drive above 70mph, but they can stop a vehicle if they believe it is unsafe] but occasionally they thank us for getting them away safely.”
And for the TOs, it is all about safety. A few minutes later, as we’re heading towards the M25 at the TOs’ preferred 60mph cruise (“We don’t get in the way of slower trucks or faster cars and can spot things”) that instinct for safety is pressed into action when the TOs spot a broken-down Porsche 911 on the opposite carriageway. There’s no hard shoulder and the car has come to a halt, half on the verge, half in the road. Last December, in England, 16 vehicles stranded on the