A NEW national roads policing unit is to be based at Fort William for the first time to patrol some of the busiest roads in the Highlands, including the A9, A96 and the A82.
The newly formed team is one of two based in the division, predominantly serving the main arterial routes in the Highlands as of part Police Scotland’s commitment to road safety.
A Police Scotland spokesman explained: “Functions of the Trunk Road Patrol Groups will include routine patrolling, attendance at incidents, investigation of collisions and the provision of specialist officers to assist in the investigation of fatal collisions.
“There will be a total of eleven Trunk Road Patrol Groups across the force, two of which within the Highland region, and are positioned to deliver an effective national service to the major roads in the country.”
Chief Inspector Derek Paterson, the local commander for Lochaber, Lochalsh and Skye, said: “I welcome the new national road policing unit to the Lochaber area and hope they will assist our focus across the country in keeping our people safe on our roads.
“The establishment of this unit will bring direct benefits to the wider communities across the West Central Highlands through a higher profile policing presence on the trunk road network.“
He continued: “In addition, they will provide a supplementary resource to identify, target and disrupt those criminals who use the road network for illegal activities. I welcome the assistance the unit will provide to local policing through attendance at incidents thereby allowing local officers to spend more time in their communities.”
Highland and Islands Road Policing Inspector, Neil Lumsden said: “One of the strategic aims of police reform was to create more equal access to specialist support. The Trunk Road Patrol Group based at Fort William is a brand new unit which has been established on the basis of demand and need. It will allow us to have an even greater presence on the trunk roads in Lochaber, Argyll, Skye and Lochalsh with the primary aim of influencing driver behaviour and reducing casualties and fatalities on our roads.
“The opportunity to be part of this new unit has already attracted officers from out with the area who want to test their specialist skills in this beautiful but challenging part of the country. The capacity and capability of the group will continue to develop over the coming months. We already have a motorcyclist and collision investigator in the team and I am looking forward to their skills and experience making a difference to the communities in this area.”