Documentary series. The traffic cops come across a suspicious accident on an empty motorway sliproad that bears the hallmarks of an insurance-cheating 'crash for cash'.
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Tonight, an armed murder suspect is up to his neck in trouble.
You're arrested on suspicion of murder.
Can you do me a favour, can you just spit your gum out?
A lying driver has the traffic cops breathing down his neck.
-Nothing at all?
-I've had a little bit.
A brass-necked swan brings the rush hour to a standstill.
These things are so powerful, they'll break your arm.
And crash for cash fraudsters are leading a whiplash epidemic.
Saw some flashing lights and they all jumped back in and...
A pain in the neck for everybody.
A front seat passenger's saying he's got stiff neck.
It's so common nowadays.
For many people out there,
they see whiplash as an opportunity to make some easy money.
There are 34 million vehicles on Britain's roads.
At times it seems as though they're all on the M1.
Especially when you're travelling
through the roadworks in Bedfordshire.
Whenever there's an accident on this stretch,
traffic on the motorway is brought to a standstill.
Fire engine is blocking the carriageway.
Today it's Keith Nicholson and Andy Scales' job to get it going again.
We got dispatched to what was described
as a two-vehicle collision in the contraflow
somewhere near Toddington.
The contraflow is a way of managing traffic with lanes
going in opposite directions to normal.
The timing of the roadworks was such that they were down
to one contraflow and one other running lane.
Yeah, copy that, do we know if they're trapped and injured,
or just physically...
There was very, very little room for manoeuvre for the general public,
let alone fire engines and ambulances and us, even.
It's only a bit of a rear ender,
but the occupants of the two cars involved, all nine of them,
are arguing over who's to blame.
They seemed to be having a few heated words amongst themselves.
There were no fisticuffs or anything of that nature,
but they were certainly displeased with each other.
Now the cops are here, they've all got back into their cars,
feeling the effects of the crash.
No-one had any obvious injuries,
certainly no-one was pouring with blood or screaming in pain.
The people in the car with the Asian family,
a few of them were complaining of soreness to their necks.
Nothing that would give me any great cause for concern.
But an air ambulance has been called for just in case.
Any suspected spinal injury
is treated as if it could be life-threatening.
A fractured neck cannot be ruled out until an X-ray is taken.
If you are involved in an accident and you're complaining of neck pain
or back pain, somebody gets in the car,
they hold onto your jaw bone, stop you from moving your neck
in case you're going to strain your spinal column
and then the fire service, God bless them,
they like to take the roofs off every car they come to with anybody
like that because that's the best way to extract somebody for a car.
To make matters worse, another incident has just taken place.
A further collision was reported probably 400 yards up the road
and so we were able to dispatch Chris and Tan to help us out
with the one further up the road.
It's another pretty minor shunt caused by rubberneckers
slowing down to see what was going on
across the road in the contraflow.
Is it just a one vehicle here?
-It's just these two vehicles involved?
A Polish female had collided into the back of another vehicle.
Do you mind coming with me to my car?
We'll just have a quick chat. Go ahead.
They were driving back to Poland, so they were on their day to Dover.
So the female was quite upset as to what had happened.
But I think it was a result of the first accident that this occurred.
Don't worry. You've not done anything wrong.
Do you know what type of injuries they've got?
My wife got injured in back.
A female passenger in the car that was struck from behind
has been taken to hospital with a back injury.
Her husband is sure who was to blame.
I was driving in my car and that car hit me.
There was no car before me.
Right, you can go. All right?
We're going to recover you to...
Can I stay with them?
Yes, yes. Don't panic.
From what the gentleman said he was travelling at 45 miles an hour
and there was no traffic in front of him.
And all of a sudden this woman collided into the back of him,
so unfortunately, as you know, witnesses don't hang about
on the motorway, they tend to disappear
so it's a bit difficult to get an account of exactly what's happened.
The hardest thing to remember about any accident,
it's normally caused by a momentary lapse of concentration.
You should stay in your car, guys, always.
The two crashes have caused chaos which isn't being helped
by some gawkers that weren't involved getting in the way.
These idiots have decided to come out
and have a look at what's going on.
And now what's happening,
the vehicles in the contraflow are reversing back
to join the main carriageway because they won't get through.
As these guys have decided to walk down and see what's going on
and what all the fuss is about, the vehicles have started
to reverse back, so the vehicle they're in is somewhere back there,
hopefully making his way back here.
And now they're left standing at the side of the road.
Like a pair of numpties.
After a brush with the law, the law with a brush.
Once the vehicles had been recovered we were happy that it was all clear,
we went to see if we could offer any assistance for the first one.
After having got back into their cars,
the fire brigade have now had to cut the roofs off
to get all the occupants out again.
They couldn't take any risks with the injuries
-they were claiming to have suffered.
They've seen flashing lights in the distance,
they've jumped back in the car.
As far as I'm concerned, they're only after compensation.
The cops suspect they're making the most of the situation.
They've even got a name for this kind of behaviour.
We think it's a bit of bash cash.
Which is our technical term for
"let's get as much money out of this as possible".
What annoys us, and gets on our nerves more than anything,
is the inconvenience to every innocent person passing
and also the cost of three emergency services
plus a helicopter plus the Highways Agency
plus everything else that's in for a recovery,
all that we have to pay for just for a bit of compo.
Unfortunately, it's virtually impossible, even for a doctor,
to diagnose or disprove whiplash.
Which car was she in?
The front one, here.
OK. Can I take her details, please?
I've got no doubt that it was a pure accident.
However, once that's happened, they've seen the pound signs
flash in front of their eyes and managed to make the most of it.
Because of hospital capacity,
the scene commander has tried to organise where all these people
are going to and, at the moment, we've got three people
from the same family going to different hospitals.
They've got c-spine, bash cash neck and abdominal pain.
-So they're all at the LND.
-They're all at the LND.
A waste of time and society needs to change.
It needs to change this injury claims
"I'm going to get one up on you, everything I do is going to pay out"
because you don't pay out, you end up paying more for the insurance.
I've never seen anything like it,
where a whole family is trying it on.
-Chris, are we going?
-Yeah, we're going. See you later.
Andy knows better than most what the real effects of whiplash are.
There was a pursuit in Luton where the guy was driving
so dangerously that I thought it necessary to force him off the road.
That involved contact between our two vehicles.
What could be considered a reasonably high speed,
we were sort of doing about 25, 30 mile an hour at the time,
which doesn't sound a great deal, but when we ended up embedded
into a brick wall it suddenly became very, very fast indeed.
And it was from that, that I sustained a bit of whiplash.
It lasted a day or two,
but there was nothing more than a couple of paracetamol didn't cure.
I had a day off work.
It didn't necessitate any compensation at all.
It was one of those things and you just get on with it.
Thankfully, pursuits are becoming much more rare these days.
When they do happen, what sparks them off can be quite unpredictable.
As Pat Reynolds recently found out after he pulled a speeder over
back on the M1.
Call my girlfriend, please.
Pat has got the man in the back of his car for questioning.
But he's feeling a little claustrophobic.
Open the door!
Open the door!
Can you open the door?
The female passenger was outside the car.
She was trying to open the back door to allow him to get out.
I was waiting for the nearest unit.
I was hoping they were going to turn up.
Open the door!
He's making his escape through the unlocked driver's door.
Standing with my back to the live carriageway, with the door open.
If he'd pushed me, I would have gone flying into the carriageway
and I didn't know what was coming, there could be HGVs or anything.
Being single-crewed, Pat can't do much to stop the man from leaving.
I tried to reason with him and talk to him
and tell him not to get back in his car, but he just didn't listen.
The driver had overtaken Pat doing more than 100 miles an hour.
He's from Manchester and still seems to be in a hurry to get home.
Then I called the control room to let them know what was going on.
His driving was dangerous.
He didn't have any consideration for the other road users.
The car was fish-tailing.
The man's trying his chances off the motorway.
Luckily there wasn't much traffic
this time of night, it was about 12 or 1am.
A traffic vehicle going the other way was trying to join me.
What the man doesn't know is that he's heading straight
for the scene of a possibly fatal accident.
Traffic units had closed the road and were investigating the scene.
And I was aware he was heading straight towards that scene.
I was giving the control room the commentary about where he was going
and the way he was driving and to warn the officers
at the scene of the accident that he was coming their way.
There could easily be another disaster.
Luckily the officers had heard my commentary
and were aware he was coming, so they had all got off the carriageway.
And they've left behind a stinger on the road surface.
It was just his luck to come this way.
Another traffic cop has deployed another stinger.
And he's running on rims.
He's travelling on the wrong side of the road now
and there's a car coming towards him on the right side of the road.
A marked traffic car takes over.
The stinger has slowed the man down.
Now the cops are going to stop him.
I think he was conscious that this car
would collide with the oncoming traffic,
so decided to make some tactical contact to bring it to a stop.
He was charged with driving whilst disqualified,
dangerous driving and failing to stop for police
and for driving with no insurance.
Just north of London, in Watford,
traffic officers Ross Clark and Dave Marshall
have spotted some suspicious late-night activity.
There was a large group of males,
all stood round a couple of cars.
And there looked like there was a heated discussion
going on that may turn into a fight.
So, better than just let them get on with it,
we drove round there just to see what was going on
and see if we can disperse it.
Some of the men have left in a Renault Clio.
The rest are in a brand new Jaguar.
I could just tell that something wasn't right.
They all got back into this Jag,
and then he attempted to do a U turn
and go the wrong way on a one-way street.
-Do you think this geezer's got a driving licence?
We thought we better have a bit of a discussion with him
and make sure he is who he's telling us he is and...
-Want to speak to him?
Whose car's that? It's a hire vehicle.
-Do you have a driving licence?
You do. Do you have any ID at all on you?
Not at the moment.
Ross smells a rat.
It was a bit strange. Like they were trying to hide something.
Pop yourself out.
Chaps, you stay in the car, I'll speak to this gentlemen.
Just pop in. Come here.
Have you ever been nicked before?
-Have you been drinking at all?
'The driver was a big old lad.'
OK. We're going to have a bit of a problem if I can't identify you
and you've got no ID.
'He must have been about six foot two.'
And he was just really kind of sullen.
-How do you spell that?
'Always suspicious when people chew gum.'
Can you do me a favour, just spit your gum out?
Blow towards me.
Nothing at all?
I've had a little bit, but a long time ago.
He had to bend quite far down to blow into my face
and he smelled of alcohol.
Got any points on that licence?
-A couple of points.
-What was that for?
I can't even remember.
Cos of the manoeuvre you performed there...
Doing a U turn to go the wrong way down a one way street
and you've admitted having alcohol.
No, I didn't know which way to go.
I need you to blow into that for me. Take a deep breath and blow in.
Keep going, keep going, that's it. Pull the end off of that.
Alpha India November, first name is India Mike Romeo...
What does that say?
-You've failed, mate.
You've blown 44 which is over the roadside limit.
Is that a U or an L? Imrul?
You are known to us a lot.
-Can you do me a favour?
Can you just put them in your pocket, just go to custody and...
-What's that? On me?
-No, no, no it's H's jewellery.
Yeah, give me the jewellery.
-Give it to him.
-Officer, can I take the jewellery.
Ross and Dave have got themselves a drink driver,
but are pretty sure there's something else going on.
Just stand here and talk to me.
You've got a really expensive Jag there, that's a hire car.
Where does that come into it?
And then there was all that swapping over of jewellery
and stuff like that.
Thank you, thank you.
Dave has discovered a small bag of cannabis...
-Right, you're also under arrest for possession...
-..Much to the man's amazement.
-Have you got any more on you?
As if I'd just planted it on him or something.
I don't know what he was thinking there.
And then he says, "This is your jacket to his friend,"
and his friend very quickly says, "But that's not my drugs."
Right, this was in that jacket.
-No, it's not mine.
-It's yours then, innit?
This wasn't my jacket.
THEY SPEAK A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE
Imrul is going to be taken to the nick.
His friends, a pretty mixed bunch, are still riding for a fall.
'And there was a little lad who was probably only about 18 years old.
'And there was a guy in a suit
'who was really smartly dressed
'and then this chap in shorts and sort of casual wear.'
One looked like he'd been to a wedding,
the other one looked like he'd been to a barbecue.
What's going on?
Are you Shia Ahmed?
Shia Ahmed, that's my friend here.
So he's not insured to drive that then?
-This guy, in the back of the car here,
isn't insured to drive that car, is he?
As far as I know yeah, he is.
And an additional driver of Ashrak Ali. Who's Ashrak?
He's one of my friend's uncle.
So this bloke's not either of those two people, is he?
The guy in the back of this car here is not listed on that policy, is he?
So he shouldn't be driving it, should he?
He's not insured to drive it.
It was just a nightmare because I was trying to deal with them
and they were all just talking at me at once.
Why are you taking the car?
Because none of you lot are allowed to drive it,
he's been driving it and he shouldn't be.
-Let him come, I'll call him. He'll come now.
Where's your keys then, he needs the keys to drive it.
If he's playing silly buggers and whatever he's done with the keys...
Who's a silly bug anyway?!
They're trying anything not to lose their Jag.
-But they're getting nowhere fast.
-He's under arrest now, mate.
One of them had the keys and they were just messing around.
They wouldn't give us the keys.
If you want.
Just watch him for a second. I'll go and check...
Get a local unit down and sit with that. Recover it.
Please, if you can just...
You drove off.
The driver is insisting that he wasn't driving the car,
but that one of his friends was.
And the friend has got the proof that he's legal to drive it.
I've got my counterpart.
You've got your counterpart and your bank card.
But there's a problem...
My licence has been confiscated and I need to go collect it.
It's been confiscated?
Yeah, because my nephew took it without my permission.
-He tried getting into a club.
So how are you going to prove to me you're the person you say you are?
Basically, officer, if you don't believe me...
Seriously. I ain't got a problem with it, you can take me home.
Seriously, if you take me home, my mum will confirm it.
-I don't want to take you home.
-My mum will confirm it. Seriously.
'He was clearly no older than 18. He looked so young.'
Buddy, I don't really believe that you are who you say you are.
-No, I don't.
-Take him home.
He was trying to convince me that he was 33. No way.
No way. Whatever he's been taking, I want some of it.
-Give me the car keys.
-You want to... Take him home, take him home.
-I don't want to take him home.
-He's under arrest.
I'm not going to be taking you home, am I?
'Coincidentally the photo card part just wasn't there.
'I didn't believe him for a minute.
'No, he wasn't getting the car.'
Are we going to get this 165a'd?
Well, can we prove who the owner of that is at the moment,
who's been registered to that car?
Fella. You're beginning to grate on me.
Open my door again and you will really upset me.
Go over there, stand there and get out of my face.
You understand me?
Right, where was I?
You were telling me who's got this car.
Yeah, this little fella there reckons he's the bloke
-on the hire agreement.
But he hasn't produced me any good ID, so I don't believe him.
By all accounts he's older than me, and look at him.
He looks the youngest out of all of them, doesn't he?
So where's the bloke...?
The man's spilling the beans through gritted teeth.
I cannot do anything. I cannot mess around with these people.
When you lot came around and when you gave directions....
He was a bit like a ventriloquist's dummy.
He was sat in the back of the car, just talking like this.
And he goes, "I can't let them know I'm talking to you."
And I was sort of, what are you doing?
You're not phoning that in. If I say anything,
if anything happens I'll get dumped in a holder.
He's going, "They'll beat me up if they know I'm talking to you."
You think to yourself, why? They don't know what you're saying to me.
They can't be the world's best lip readers.
It's 5am and backup's arrived to supervise
the recovery of the Jag and to disperse the young men.
Their dumb friend, meanwhile, is going to custody.
The only route out of that situation was him going to a police station,
whether he liked it or not.
And he could tell me everything under the sun,
but he was going to that police station
to do another breath test and to find out who he really was.
OK, it's come up 44 and 46.
'We take the lowest reading, which was 44.'
And then we get what's called a statutory option if it's 40 to 50,
where he can go for a blood sample instead of the breath test.
And he chose to do that.
I'll pop you in the cell here.
A doctor will come out and take blood from you shortly.
The man's got a problem with the sleeping arrangements.
For some reason there was a mattress in his cell
which was a thin one, and he had to have a thick one.
I wouldn't want you to not have a comfortable night's sleep.
I'd been on for nearly 10 hours, 11 hours,
and I just wanted to go home, and the easiest way to go home
was just to give him the mattress he wants.
Right, see you in a bit.
Upstairs, after getting the results back
from the man's fingerprint check, Ross has got some food for thought.
He's been telling pork pies about who he is. He's a disqualified driver.
And this is the second time he's been caught disqual driving.
And the third time drink driving, I think. Beautiful.
When we found out who he was, his history was just as colourful
as the other person that he said he was.
-Right, have you got a big rose on your back?
-A big rose?
Right, yeah, that's it.
Then we went into the cell to say the game's up, we know who you are,
your fingerprints have come back and you're disqualified.
It's spelt Raz on there.
-You're a disqualified driver?
You're further under arrest for disqualified driving.
Didn't even bother getting out of bed.
He was just with the blanket pulled up, and he's like,
"Yeah, OK, that's me."
With the early morning rush hour well underway,
the M1 north of London and the surrounding area
is not a place for the faint-hearted.
To make matters worse today,
the control centre have spotted a problem.
Sorry, go again with that.
A very unusual job has come in.
Traffic cop Chris Payne is going to take care of the situation.
Whereabouts? We've got GPS in our cars.
Control can see where we are and at that moment unfortunately
I was the closest unit and unfortunately
the rest of my colleagues
were scattered about further afield,
so I drew the short straw.
Chris has a view on swans. He's used to dealing with troublemakers.
They are violent little things.
Zero six, he's sitting on the central grass verge.
I'm just putting a rolling block on.
A rolling block is a way of backing up all the traffic
behind the patrol car and bringing it slowly to a halt.
That then creates a sterile area in which you can work
to deal with whatever incident you're going to.
Experience means nothing with these things. Oh, look.
Here you go. It's saying hello.
You think of swans as those lovely animals
that you're feeding on a Sunday morning with the kids.
They're violent. They really are.
Being caught up in heavy traffic,
it's no wonder this one looks a little cross.
We have heard of incidents in the past where
a swan flapping out when somebody's trying to grab hold of it
has broken people's arms.
They are so strong. They don't look it.
It's turning into a bit of a wild goose chase for Chris.
'You don't know what they're going to do,
'and they can do anything without any warning.'
'He went to take off, but he headed towards the central barrier.'
My heart stopped.
I'm hoping he don't fly straight into that oncoming traffic.
I'm very worried that this thing's going to jump
straight into the path of oncoming traffic on that side, over.
-'I'll see what I can do for you.'
'Tango, Alpha, you'll get to this quicker,
'can you go on an immediate to the A44 at Hatfield?
'We've found a swan.'
'It is quite funny to watch, but it does have a serious point'
and any second, it could have gone horribly, horribly wrong.
Unfortunately, my applause is not helping him get up off the ground.
It's a lame duck as far as this morning's commuters are concerned.
I'm going to have to open up this for a bit,
because Uniform 6 is on their way, but they're going to be some time
so I can't keep this blocked for the entire time.
It's going to make a lot of people unhappy.
So I'll stick the car on the verge.
As long as he stays still, then we'll just leave it at that for now
until the other unit gets to that end
and then we can get a total block on and try and get him off.
While Chris struggles
to get his feathered friend to stretch his wings,
a few miles away, Ross and Tim Hill
have got an altogether more menacing job coming in.
Whisky three, we're in South Mimms village now.
A car connected with a major crime has been spotted nearby.
It's a high-ac report.
Just running it through now.
120 silver, male keeper from Plymouth,
a high-monitor crime,
substantiated intelligence that this male may carry a firearm
so monitor only, monitor only.
We received a call on the radio to say that a vehicle
had activated the ANPR camera.
The ANPR camera is one of thousands
of fixed roadside number-plate reading cameras in a network
spread across the country that is virtually inescapable.
Came across and said there was
very good credible intelligence by Avon and Somerset police
that the chap who owns and drives this vehicle
is involved in gun crime
and will have a gun, will have a firearm on him.
To their horror, Tim and Ross have found the BMW like a shot.
Oh, (BLEEP) me, that's it.
Tango one whisky three, can I come in?
So at that point I was like,
"Yeah, I don't really want to be stopping this, I'm quite nervous."
The car is heading down the A1 into London, and unfamiliar territory.
'Go on, Whisky three.'
Yeah, we're behind that vehicle with the firearms marker.
We are approaching Apex corner.
The controller has got some rather chilling news about the suspect.
Ah, OK. Little more serious. OK.
At that point, knowing what offence it had been involved in,
we were feeling quite twitchy.
Whisky three, vehicle lane one of two. Four zero.
We're still behind it. Appears to be one male occupant.
I can't see whether he's black or white.
We're approaching Mill Hill and Broadway roundabout.
You couldn't see as the headrest was in the way.
You also couldn't see through the mirrors because they were tinted.
So we really didn't know what we'd got at that point.
Big gap in case he gets out with a gun.
I suspect the Met will get one of their Trojan units
or a couple of their Trojan units to do some kind of a hard stop on him.
The problem is us patching through to them,
getting through to them and then them getting to us.
You know, it could be another 10, 15 minutes.
If he comes to a stop before the Met get here, what are we going to do?
Because if the male suspect is being wanted for murder
and he's, you know, carrying a gun,
then I don't really fancy spraying him with Pava.
The potential of a firearm in that vehicle is quite a scary thing.
So we treat it with extreme caution.
It's a watching and waiting game for Tim and Ross.
Only the Met Police's firearms teams
will be able to apprehend the BMW driver.
It's the "not knowing what's going to happen next" scenario.
The whole gun thing unnerves me a little bit.
Think that's a Trojan unit on the way.
'When I heard their Trojan vehicles, their armed response vehicles,'
when I heard the Trojan call signs call up,
I was, "Thank God for that. How far away are they?"
'There's an marked ARB coming towards you.
'As you see it in your rear-view mirror,
'just pull to the left-hand side and let it pass, please.
'Then if you can put a road block in sort of about 20-30 metres behind us
'just to allow us to conduct the stop, over.'
That's all received, we will do.
It's the vehicle directly in front of us.
I'm happy now people are here with guns.
The Met Police are taking over.
Their country cousins from Hertfordshire
can breathe easy again.
'It was quite a relief
'when they said they were on Willesden High Road
'and then they said, "So we can come in," so we sort of backed off.'
'And then they came in and put a stop.
'The chap just got out
'and they took him away from the vehicle and searched him.'
And it appears the information about the man was right.
He is armed.
'In a carrier bag in the boot was a handgun.'
Tango one whisky three, there is a firearm in the vehicle.
Buddy, I'm telling you, you're being arrested on suspicion of murder.
Also under arrest on suspicion of possession of a firearm. OK?
-Come with me, bud.
-Are you being serious?
-Do I look like I'm being serious?
He's been searched for weapons.
The gun is a replica.
But still a very convincing-looking one.
You've got the wrong person, innit? It's a mistake.
It's not an offence to have it
as long as he's got a legitimate reason.
He was cool, he was calm, almost arrogant.
'He's adamant he's got nothing to do with any fatal shooting at all.
'So as if to say, "You prove I was involved."'
On my way to the barber's shop to get a haircut
and look at the harassment I'm getting.
He had a smirk on his face. He was laughing on the way back to custody.
Meanwhile, back on the dual carriageway in Hertfordshire,
Chris isn't laughing.
The traffic has resumed, but he's still got the bird to bag.
I really don't think this thing's going to move of its own accord.
RSPCA are only about 15 minutes away
so hopefully they'll be able to come out, shift it off for us
and yeah, drop it home.
Chris has got a name for his new friend.
I called him Keith.
Last one I dealt with was called Bob.
So yeah, Keith and Bob.
I had half the shift turn up in the end. More people kept turning up.
Don't want to stay here and babysit a swan, do you?
Three police cars there at one point.
About five officers there dealing with a swan.
More importantly, the expert from the RSPCA has arrived.
'She got out her weapon of choice, which didn't look nice.
'From the looks of it, the swan has dealt with that before.
'He knew exactly what was going to happen.'
But coy Keith is having none of it.
Go on, son. Go on, Keith.
It was like watching a 737 take off.
The term "swan song" comes from a legend
that while mute all their lives, swans sing just before they die.
Thankfully, Keith hasn't started singing just yet.
The man arrested in London isn't singing at all either.
He's adamant the cops have got the wrong man.
His story was that he'd been involved in the gang scene
and he had been around firearms,
been arrested for firearms and stuff like that
and he had turned a leaf over in a book
and now he was promoting youngsters getting out of gangs.
That replica firearm was a prop.
The gentleman here has been arrested for the offence of murder.
'Coincidentally, Avon and Somerset police
'were already at Wembley police station
'dealing with another offender from the same incident.'
So we were able to liaise with them
and ultimately they came across and they dealt with the offender
and so it was more a case of us then putting him in the cell,
seizing his clothing for evidential purposes,
writing out reports, which took some time,
and then hand the whole job over.
The ANPR camera network is all very well
for picking out dodgy vehicles
that have been put on the police's computer database.
But only cops in cars can spot road users committing everyday offences
like those in this oncoming van.
No seatbelts on any of them.
PCs Chris Thompson and Neil Crosier
have got well-trained eyes for the job.
You could clearly see that the driver
and the passenger nearest the passenger side door
didn't have their seat belt on.
People do different things when they're not wearing their seat belt,
for some reason. They seem to highlight it to you,
as opposed to just driving like they normally would and not wearing it.
They'll lean to one side or they'll have an arm there
or they'll start scratching here,
just to try and mask the fact that that belt's not across.
Tango one. Whisky seven for vehicle check, please.
The van's looking a trifle overloaded as well,
with all sorts of stuff.
just general scrap, really.
Neil's got good reason to believe what he saw at first sight.
'You know, generally, seat belts are black.
'It's quite obvious if you haven't got it on.
'You know, I'd rather someone just hold their hands up'
and say, "I'm sorry, I haven't been wearing it."
Instead of us standing there having to have some sort of argument
for the fact that I know they haven't got it on
and they try to convince me they have.
I had my seat belt on, but it's a bit broke.
No, you didn't, because you've got a nice orange shirt on,
I could clearly see as you went past you didn't have a seat belt on.
-You can't do me for that, can you?
-No seat belt?
Basically, we're trying to cut down on the amount of road deaths
happening in Hertfordshire, right? Already this year
-we're coming up to our yearly total in a six-month period.
Obviously, your front passenger ain't got a seatbelt on either.
'So, to my mind, people who don't wear seat belts are stupid.'
End of the day, it's there to save your life.
In one week, I had three seat belts on, believe it or not.
-So what's that mean to you?
Wear your seat belt.
If it's broken...
It ain't broken, I just...to be honest with you, I can't wear one.
-Why's that, then?
-I just can't wear one. Too fat!
'There are people out there who say that.'
"Oh, yeah, I had one last week, you know, I should wear it."
It's two weeks today, isn't it?
28 days, mate. Four weeks.
Four weeks. I'll pay it in two weeks.
The £60 fines are adding up
for the scrap dealer, who can't have very deep pockets.
Where are you taking all this, then?
Just taking it to the scrap yard, mate.
There's definitely not enough scrap loaded on the back of that lorry
that's going to pay for two fines of £60.
There's only...I bet there's not 30 quid on there, mate.
One, two, three. Pays for a pint, though, don't it?
I won't keep you a second.
'They were obviously wide boys,'
basically, you know, been doing the scrap dealing for a little while.
'So, you know, they were decent enough chaps.'
Seat belt, women, beer.
Just lost £120 because we've stopped them.
So it's going to be probably a very long day for them
when they've got to find some more stuff
to go back and pay for their seat belt tickets.
'98% of the people out there are very nice to us.
'It's only the, you know, the odd 2%
think we've better things to do with our time, the old cliche. You know,
"Why aren't you out catching burglars, murderers, robbers?"
Moments after dealing with the scrap men,
Chris and Neil have all of a sudden got something better to do.
Catch a speeding van driver.
'A blur, he was literally,
as we came up to the roundabout, he emerged from our right-hand side
and has gone round the roundabout like a bat out of hell.
So myself and Neil decided that we'd have a little chat with this chap.
His driving leaves a little to be desired, to say the least.
'Crossing the white chevrons, undertaking people.
'He overtook another car, then slammed his brakes on
'and did a left turn, right in front of this car.
'It wasn't too hard to get behind him.
'Obviously, there was a car in our way, but as he's gone down the lane,
'we managed to use our blue lights and two-tones
'and that pulled over for us and we managed to stop him.'
Vehicle check, please.
Sierra 954, Foxtrot Bravo Whisky,
Sierra 954, Foxtrot Bravo Whisky.
Didn't seem too happy that he'd been stopped.
Why you think we want to talk to you?
I was going too fast round there.
Too fast? OK.
At one point you nearly lost it.
Undertaking, going across white lines
and then braking heavily and turning in front of people.
Do you find that an acceptable standard of driving?
I don't, no.
No. A lot of people would class that as dangerous driving.
The most dangerous thing, basically, in my mind,
was when he's undercut the other motorist
and pulled straight in front of him and immediately turned to the left.
Have you got your driving licence on you?
-I haven't, no.
-You haven't. Have you actually got one?
-You got any ID on you?
No. So I've got to trust the details you're going to give to me.
-What's your surname?
-Turner. And your first name?
He gave me his details, which we checked,
which all came back in order.
OK, and whose van is it?
My work partner's van.
It's your work partner's van. OK. Why haven't you got any tax in it?
-Dunno. It ain't been taxed since he had it, I don't think.
The alarm bells are beginning to ring.
Has it got an MOT?
-It has. OK, have you got that on you?
The digging is getting to Mr Turner.
Tango one whisky seven...
He's not Mr Turner after all.
All right, OK.
Do you want my licence?
'He gave Neil a false name.
'Which at first we didn't realise.'
It was only as I've gone round into the vehicle, into the near side
to take out his tax that I've noticed he's got badges,
ID badges hanging from his gear stick.
At that point I noticed a nice little picture of him on there
with his proper name on it.
So at that point, he's decided, "I'll come clean."
Ben Weston, is that you?
It is, yeah. Been revoked for six months.
-It's been revoked for six months.
Mr Weston's a disqualified driver, and in big trouble.
I'm going to point out a number of offences to you.
First one's going to be dangerous driving.
Because in my view, the driving that I've seen, OK,
falls well below that of a competent driver. OK?
Second one is obviously using the vehicle without a valid tax disk.
The third one depends on what comes back on the driving licence.
If you're right, you're driving not according to the licence.
Why are you using the van?
To be fair, I've just had the biggest row with my missus.
-I'm going to my mate's house to try and chill out.
But I know that ain't no excuse. At the end of the day, I shouldn't...
If you'd been driving like everyone else,
we wouldn't be having this conversation now.
OK, cos you obviously worked yourself up.
That's culminated in your driving, OK?
It could have ended up being a lot worse.
You have a little bit of sympathy for him cos of the domestic side.
But from the other side, he's not supposed to be on the road.
He's driving like an idiot.
-I know I've done wrong.
The man's van is going to be seized
under section 165 of the Road Traffic Act.
Why are these people driving
when they fully know that they haven't got a licence?
And the consequences will be slightly harder now for him.
The cops have got a brand new way of processing disqualified drivers.
With disqual driving now,
we don't have to arrest the person and take them into custody.
OK. Once upon a time, any disqual drivers get arrested,
they go down to the police station,
we have to do an interview, all the custody process.
-So if you've ever been in custody,
that's the process we go through.
Now, what we do is, we'll do an interview here
because I've physically got the camera here.
I think he thought he was going to get arrested,
and when I told him we were going to deal with it there and then,
in a way he was quite relieved
and he was quite happy to talk to me about what had gone on.
And how do you feel about what's happened?
I'm gutted, really, you know. I shouldn't have done it.
-It's my own fault, innit?
Stupid things will have stupid consequences, so.
Have you got any questions that you want to ask me about any of those?
-Not really, no.
I'd like to apologise, obviously, you know.
I just need to go through the procedure form for the van,
which my colleague's going to fill out for you.
If he'd driven normally,
we probably wouldn't have stopped him.
And that stuff you got in the back?
All my work tools and work equipment.
The man's an aerial installer, and he's well kitted out for the job.
How much of that do you need?
The van was absolutely loaded with stuff.
He must have spent five or ten minutes
literally stripping the back of the vehicle out.
Never actually seen anyone ever take so much stuff out of a vehicle
to take with them.
MUSIC: "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter
I feel gutted, really.
That's all my work stuff you can see there next to me.
I've obviously now got to find another vehicle for Monday morning,
get it insured all legit for my mate to use to get us to work, so...
pretty gutted, considering the row was over money
because we've got none at the minute. It's...yeah.
They're doing their job.
I was wrong to drive without a licence,
I was driving erratically,
so...what comes to me, I expect.
You know, I did wrong, you've got to expect to pay for them consequences,
but obviously, my mate is now suffering
and, you know, I think that's a bit unfair.
They could have let him come and pick the van up,
-considering he's legal in it.
But yeah, I don't really know what's going to happen now.
Unfortunately, what is happening
is that his illegal van is being taken away to the pound.
Whilst the Traffic Cops
are constantly looking out for bad drivers,
they're also always on hand to rush to emergencies.
In Bedford, a report of an accident has just come in.
PCs Chris Norton and Tanveer Hussain have taken the call.
Two-vehicle injury. RTC, Cardiff Road.
They've asked for a traffic unit to come along.
Two special constables attended the scene first
and started to get details. Then it transpired
the female who was in the vehicle was complaining of neck pain
and there was talk of having her cut out of the vehicle.
So when that information came to light, we decided to head down
and see what was going on.
It's in a nearby Tesco's car park.
Not the kind of place you'd expect a serious crash.
It's here, car park entrance.
It was on the approach to the petrol station
and the exit of the car park.
-How you doing, all right?
She smashed into that taxi there...
'It was quite clear as to what had happened.
'Taxi vehicle was looking to pull onto the forecourt'
to fill up with some petrol.
Unfortunately, the lady who was approaching the give way
had most probably come out and T-boned the taxi driver.
Your colleagues have the information.
It's a case of what can happen
when someone doesn't put on their seat belt.
She's gone forward, nutted the steering wheel,
-head pain, neck pain.
Has she then reversed back at some point or do we not know that?
I haven't been told that she moved.
I think she hit him, then bounced back.
-When I got there, handbrake was off.
-I was going to say, yeah, OK.
-So I applied the handbrake.
-I think it's automatic as well.
-Oh, is it? OK.
It's quite apparent who was at fault.
The driver of the taxi didn't have any injuries at all
because it was just an impact upon his nearside front wing.
The girl, she wasn't wearing her seat belt.
She banged her head on the steering wheel and then travelled far back
and she was complaining of neck pain.
The injured girl's father has turned up.
You're her father? OK. Have you given him all her details yet?
He seems to know the taxi driver.
I'm trying to make sure they take care of him.
-It's OK, I know him very well.
The handbrake's been down.
She's hit that car and it's a bit of a gradient
and her car rolled back nice and slow and it's come to a stop.
-That's what's happened.
-The girl's brother has arrived as well,
to add his weight to the argument.
It can be two ways. It can be that she pulled out but he didn't stop.
-Hey, hey, hey!
-No, listen, mate...
-Don't get cross, don't get cross.
-Every little helps.
-Don't try and defend your sister.
Don't try and defend your sister, cos you weren't there.
But he wasn't there too. The police officer wasn't there.
I wasn't, you're right. All I'm saying is, from experience...
-But he's talking from experience.
-You can't just say that.
I've had experience, I've had an accident before.
-You can't say from experience.
-Listen, do us a favour.
It's best if we don't talk to you for five, ten minutes.
Job done, cos your opinion is different to ours.
Do you want to have a word with your son?
He's ear-wigging to what Tan was explaining what was happening
and then he tried to put his two pennyworth in
and say what happened, though he wasn't there.
Chris has spotted something
that might have contributed to the accident.
You can understand why she's probably pulled out
and pulled into the path of the car because the hedge is quite high
compared to her eyeline, and if she puts her seat back too far,
she's obviously not going to be in the correct driving position.
She looks quite slumped down already.
That's the importance of having your seat upright
so you maintain maximum height when in the car.
Fire Service are doing the usual.
I think it's merely precaution more than anything.
It's going to be whiplash and dented pride more than anything.
Worst thing you can do is move somebody who's got a neck ache
out of a car, and then they've got a broken back,
because the vertebrae are quite delicate
and you're going to be in the line of fire if later on down the road,
they've had a broken back and they're looking for compensation.
The paramedic attending the scene
is an expert in these kinds of injuries.
I come to a lot of accidents and I see this a lot,
but I don't thoroughly understand why.
If we miss a possible fracture,
there's a greater risk that actually, we could kill the patient.
OK, and how would that happen?
Because the controls for the heart and lungs, nerve pathways,
come out through vertebrae numbers three, four and five
in the back of your neck.
-That will stop you breathing.
And it'll stop your heart working.
Can you demonstrate how that would happen?
No! I'm not going to kill myself!
So theoretically, she's thrown her head forward,
thrown her head backwards, so she might have damaged those three bones
within the back of the neck.
Yeah, and if they sever the spinal cord at that point, they're dead.
So how would you sever the...
-Why do you immobilise the neck?
-You can either have a sheer rotation,
so they snap over each other or they twist round
-and they cut the...
-So if I look left or right...
Yeah, or up and down to an excessive degree,
you can actually cause the bones to break and separate
and that would cut like a knife through butter.
-And that's it, you're dead.
-And once they've gone,
potentially they're dead. And that's why we worry about the neck.
Roof comes off cos we then have a greater area to work on
for putting boards in or getting the casualties out in a smoother manner.
Changed my appreciation for the injuries that could be involved.
It's easy to see why such care is taken
with suspected whiplash sufferers
when the stakes involved are so high.
However, despite falling numbers of car crashes,
insurance claims for whiplash are rising.
One is made every minute of every hour of every day.
Most claims are genuine, but a lot aren't.
Because of the difficulty of proving or disproving whiplash,
it's fast becoming the fraud of choice
for an increasing number of people.
We have a problem with staged accidents in this country
where people are actually staging an accident.
These are often organised by highly efficient effective criminal gangs
who put in a claim for damage to a vehicle
and included in that will be claims for whiplash.
And because whiplash is notoriously difficult to prove or disprove,
it's an area that's rife for exploitation.
The fraudsters choreograph this kind of accident so cleverly
that it's virtually impossible to detect any wrong doing.
Their favourite locations are the approaches to roundabouts
or as PC Neil Crosier is discovering this afternoon,
it can be the slip road onto a motorway.
'A vehicle had gone into the back of another one
'as they were joining the main carriageway.
'Peter Jackson spoke to the driver.'
-Is that the only thing you remember, the car in front was blue?
What was it, a saloon, was it a small car, big car?
-Want me to speak to the other one?
The driver is claiming a vehicle, which has now disappeared,
stopped in front of him, causing him to slam his brakes on.
A hapless female driver then ran into the back of him.
PC Moody spoke to the female driver of the Honda
and I was talking to the gentleman in the back seat of the Vectra.
You're going like that.
No, I no go to hospital. I go home.
Have you got any neck pain?
OK, no, there's no pain.
You're hesitating when I'm asking you. You either have or you haven't.
The female that had made the call
and she's a bit concerned about the nature of the accident itself
cos in her eyes, she viewed it as being a little bit suspicious.
I was coming up along the slip road onto the motorway
and there were two cars in front of me
and the motorway was quite clear
and the car, the first car just seemed to stop all of a sudden
and the car behind it stopped.
I saw his brake lights come on straightaway,
but he didn't go into the car
and obviously I was accelerating to pull onto the motorway,
cos it was clear, and I put my brakes on as soon as I saw his
and I couldn't do anything, I just smashed into the back of him.
The accident bears the hallmarks of a classic case of bash cash.
And as she's moved over to the hard shoulder,
the Corsa at the very front has driven off and hasn't stopped
and in her opinion, it would have been
of the understanding that an accident had occurred.
I'm moving forward, and up there at the front,
we don't know what really happened.
HE CONTINUES INAUDIBLY
I brake as well, and that's when we heard some collision at the back.
The car's, you know, just vanished into thin air.
And then the guys in the middle car got out
and one of them came towards me.
He didn't threaten me, but he was quite aggressive.
I was obviously very shocked and he swore at me
and asked me what I was doing.
Um, and then he came out clutching his head
and the other guy came out clutching his back.
You've got back pain, you've been advised to see your doctor.
At least then, it covers you and details what you say, sir.
The driver came up and said, "I've phoned the police already,
"but I've told the ambulance not to come cos nobody's been hurt
"and I told the police not to come because we're all OK, aren't we?"
And he said, "Who are you on the phone to?"
And I said, "Oh, nobody, I'm just having a look at it.
But the operator kept the line live as I was a bit concerned.
Front seat passenger says they've been coming up the slip road,
a small blue vehicle
has just randomly jammed the yanks on in front of them.
He said he doesn't know where it's come from,
just suddenly appeared, his mate slammed the brakes on as well
and they've had a shunt from behind. So...
Is that both passengers have said that?
No, just the one from the front seat,
which is the one that's claiming he's got neck pain,
-headache and lower back.
-The bloke in the back, apparently,
has said also a blue car. The driver said a red car.
So what I'm going to do is...
I don't know.
It'll get reported to the Insurance Fraud unit.
Might get their reds and purples and pinks, sort of thing, mixed up
but you know, red and blue, you know, it's one or the other.
-As far as insurance companies are concerned,
the car behind in an accident
is nearly always deemed to be the one at fault.
We've got the driver who's complaining of minor injuries,
we've got front seat passenger saying he's got a stiff neck,
lower back pain, sudden jolt from behind and...
-basically, that's about it.
-So from the Vectra, yeah?
Yeah, Vectra's vehicle number two, so that was at the front
and the offender vehicle's gone up the back.
No-one in the back one complaining of anything, just the front car?
Not as far as I'm aware.
I think when we arrived and we could see how clear the motorway was,
looking at the skid marks and taking the accounts from the people,
I think it was fair to say...
..that there was some kind of foul play there.
That somebody potentially had stopped
in order for her to, to collide into the rear of them.
If it's a set-up, then it's awful
and it's just lucky that I wasn't injured
and they weren't injured, they were part of it.
What if they'd been injured as well?
Unfortunately it's one of those incidents that's...
we call a crash-for-cash incident,
where the vehicle has stopped, and the occupants of that vehicle
will then claim compensation for injuries they may have sustained.
Yeah, if it's a set-up, I feel sick about it, actually.
The red - or blue - vehicle that initiated the collision
has never been traced, and the injured occupants of the middle car
were not charged with fraud.
However, the woman's insurance company
has not yet paid out any compensation to them.
The two crashes on the M1 and the accident in Tesco's car park
were all settled by insurance claims.
The man who drove through a crash scene
as he was desperately trying to get away from the chasing cops
was sent to prison for eight months
for dangerous driving and driving whilst disqualified.
Razon Meer, the disqualified driver who lied through his back teeth,
was also locked up for eight weeks
for breaching a suspended sentence order
and driving whilst disqualified.
But his blood test came back under the limit.
Ben Weston, the aerial fitter
who was also caught driving whilst disqualified and driving carelessly
had his ban extended for another 12 months and was fined £300.
The man with the replica firearm in his boot,
who was arrested at gunpoint in London,
was released without being charged.
And Keith the swan was also released,
back into the wild to enjoy a long and happy life.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
The traffic cops come across a suspicious accident on an empty motorway slip road that bears all the hallmarks of a 'crash for cash', a deliberate attempt to cheat the insurance companies; while on the busy M1, more suspected 'have-a-go' claimants have to be cut out of their accident-damaged vehicles by the fire brigade.