A SPECIALIST police team has been put together to take on the growing burden of fatal and serious road smashes in England’s biggest county.
North Yorkshire Police has established a Major Collision Investigation Team (MCIT) to centralise investigations into fatal and serious road collisions.
Last year alone 51 people died in 46 fatal collisions in the county – 16 of them motorcyclists – and altogether some 400 serious injury accidents are reported each year.
Investigating such incidents can take thousands of hours in police time but the new team will free up local roads policing officers’ time after they have dealt with the initial response.
“Having a dedicated resource for these investigations means that roads policing officers can get back onto the roads to carry out education, enforcement and preventative work,” said Deputy Chief Constable Tim Magwick.
The new unit is based in Thirsk and includes a sergeant and six police constables led by Inspector Mick Barron who said: “Investigations into fatal and serious collisions can be lengthy, complicated and require specialist skills and knowledge.
“They can involve dealing with distraught families who have lost loved ones, witnesses who may have seen very distressing events and victims who have sustained life-changing injuries.
“The Major Collision Investigation Team members have a wide range of skills and experience which have been gained from various policing backgrounds to investigate these collisions and provide an expert service to North Yorkshire Police and our communities.”
The MCIT also work closely with the force's Collision Investigation Unit whose job it is to carry out a forensic examination of the scene of collisions, including mapping the area using laser scanners.
The team will focus on the investigation side of these collisions, which are the most serious the force deals with.
Their work involves gathering evidence to determine the cause of collisions and to prosecute motorists who are at fault, interviewing suspects and witnesses, carrying out road checks, liaising with HM Coroner, the Crown Prosecution Service and the court service.
The county’s police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan said: “By providing a single point of contact for roads policing, collision investigation and family liaison, this new team will help to free up roads policing officers to get back on the roads to help prevent these devastating and life-changing incidents in the first place.”