MORE than 8,000 people were prosecuted for reckless and illegal driving in lockdown, including England International footballer Jack Grealish – by West Midlands Police’s own prosecution unit.
The specialist Police-Led Prosecutions Team (PLPT) have the legal powers to authorise charges, and present evidence at court, without referral to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) first.
The seven-strong squad successfully prosecuted just over 8,250 people between May and October 2020 using evidence from officers, dash cam footage or witnesses.
This includes the recent prosecution of Aston Villa’s England International footballer Jack Grealish for driving without due care and attention in Solihull on March 29.
The team aim to ensure those who commit driving offences, ranging from careless driving to not wearing a seatbelt, are caught and punished. It has led to sentences ranging from driving bans of up to seven years, hefty fines and unpaid community work requirements.
Tanya Johnson, who heads up the PLPT, said: “There has been no let up in our work, even with the Covid-19 pandemic and the various restrictions in place.
“Whilst it’s the CPS who prosecute fatal collisions we also look to ensure others who put safety at risk, and whose actions could lead to a serious collision, are punished.
“Laws are in place for a reason, and should be followed. We’re enforcing them to protect people now and in the future.
“We can speed up the justice process rather than just keep referring matters to the CPS. So there are lots of benefits to having our own legally trained – and legally recognised by Government – police led prosecution team.
“We were first introduced in 2013 and overseen tens of thousands of cases in that time. The only losers are offenders who are punished for their illegal behaviour.”