Documentary series following the people who work on the A1. Emergency services fight to cut a woman free from her car after a rush-hour crash.
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The A1 - Britain's longest road.
Stretching almost 400 miles from the City of London
to the heart of the Scottish capital.
Connecting two nations and passing through 18 counties.
It's an unrivalled highway
used by hundreds of thousands of vehicles every day.
We're going southbound down the A1 on the northbound carriageway.
But not all journeys go to plan.
TYRES SCREECH, THUD
I thought, "I'm going to lose my life."
Cars are coming close. It is the dangerous place to be.
Lives can hang in the balance.
The rear end of that vehicle, it's unrecognisable.
This is actually the bodywork of the car.
24 hours a day...
It's not a safe place here.
..there's a team of people who keep us safe from harm.
We don't know if they've got the road closed,
we don't know what happened.
..and traffic officers.
Keeping Britain's most iconic road...
-..on the move.
CAR HORN BLARES
Substantially damaged flatbed truck in lane two.
The A1, the monster that it is, will start to return to normal.
Coming up -
the fight to cut a woman free from her car...
Don't panic, darling.
..without causing her further injury.
Keep your head as still as possible.
A motorist accused of drink-driving...
Have you had any alcohol in the last 20 minutes?
..is left high and dry...
There's a high probability that his alcohol level is going up.
..and monster machines on the march down the Great North Road.
Travelling at 50mph, the wind will just get
under them and blow them up.
Of the 10,000 incidents tackled by Highways England traffic officers
on the A1 every year, one in five is an accident.
One of the busiest parts of the road is a two-lane stretch
between Doncaster and Ferrybridge.
It's 7.40 on a Friday evening...
..and Paul Day and Rob Larkin
are responding to a call about an incident -
but so far, they've few details to go on.
The nature of the job is not known yet,
but the cameras can see hazard lights,
traffic's moving very slowly
and indicating round an incident,
so at the minute we're just going in blind, really.
With very little information and no idea how serious the call is,
Paul and Rob need to investigate quickly.
It could be anything, this, from a medical emergency...
-Could be just a flat tyre.
-It could be just a flat tyre.
It could be anything minor from something just broken down
to somebody being run over, for instance.
As they get closer,
the build-up of traffic suggests there's a serious incident.
This is now an emergency.
Get out t'way.
And more information comes through about what lies ahead...
Three-vehicle RTC reported.
Ambulance en route.
Rob and Paul are the first emergency team to arrive.
It's a three-car pile-up.
A woman who was driving one of the cars
has what could be a serious injury.
26-year-old female, conscious and breathing, complaining of neck pain.
I'm trying to keep her head very still.
Paul's taking no chances
and immediately immobilises the woman's neck.
He must keep her as still as possible until the medics arrive.
Still no pain? Not much pain?
Still experiencing pain.
I think there was a queue of vehicles
in front of me which was slowing down.
As I was slowing down I just heard a bang from the back of my car,
and my wife just shouted...
"Oh, we've been hit."
Looked like there was a pile-up of vehicles behind me.
Then I realised that the lady right behind me,
she was in great pain and holding her neck.
While Paul attends to the injured driver,
Rob needs to protect everyone at the scene.
It's now an agonising wait for other emergency services to arrive.
I've got a lane two closure out, so the scene is protected.
From first impression, it looks like somebody's slowed down
and they've all bumped into each other.
With a potential serious spinal injury on his hands,
Paul knows it may be necessary to cut the lady out of the vehicle.
The fire brigade are en route, so...
If they're needed. Hopefully they won't be.
They might put a collar on
and then you might be a bit better to get out yourself, OK?
For someone on the scene, though,
this whole process is taking too long.
Who's called a taxi?
Incredibly, one of the passengers has rung for a cab,
as she doesn't want to be late for work.
Oh, my God. Call a taxi to a bloomin' accident scene.
Thankfully, minutes later,
the paramedics arrive and begin to urgently assess the injured woman.
I want you to keep your head as still as you can, OK?
First of all, the pain was in the middle of her neck.
It's now moved,
which is why I took the decision to immobilise her C spine.
She's always been conscious and talking, but, yeah...
It's looking a little bit more dramatic than it first seemed.
With the Fire Service arriving,
there are now a dozen emergency service personnel on the scene
and a busy lane of Friday night traffic still thundering past.
Do you want us to stop that traffic?
Rob and Paul have got to close
the whole of the northbound carriageway of the A1
while the team gets to work.
With the woman in considerable pain,
they need to rescue her as soon as possible.
But the big question is - how?
More than 200 miles north near Edinburgh,
it's the job of Police Scotland officers to patrol
a very different section of the A1.
Just outside Tranent,
PCs Stewart Logan and Mike Nash
have spotted a driver who's causing concern.
Our attention was drawn just to this car that we've overtaken.
It was going awful slow.
And we've passed it, the driver is not wearing his seat belt
so we're going to get him in this lay-by here.
The reason we've stopped you today is, when we overtook you,
you weren't wearing your seat belt, OK?
I wonder why that was.
You're driving on a 70mph road with no seat belt on.
It's not very good, OK? Do you have your licence with you today, sir?
Stewart runs checks on the vehicle,
but has his suspicions about the driver.
I can't quite deduce if the smell, if it's an alcohol smell
or something other in the car,
so we'll do a breath test on him
just now, that'll determine whether it is that or not.
Have you had any alcohol in the last 20 minutes?
OK, I'll check what time we stopped you and go from there.
It's important in these circumstances that we confirm
when the person has last consumed alcohol,
because you have an illegal arrest, essentially,
if you breath-test a person too early.
He's had two pints.
In Scotland, two pints will put
the average Joe Public over the limit.
My feeling is that, eh,
I think he's going to fail.
Time to see if Stewart's prediction is right...
You blow into it until I tell you to stop.
You don't need to blow your socks off.
Just a nice, steady breath, OK?
When you're ready. Keep going, keep going, keep going.
Stop - that's grand.
..but the result is surprising.
You are absolutely on the nail.
Basically, one microgram more and you would be arrested.
OK? The danger you have, sir,
is that if you've only had alcohol in the last 20 minutes or so,
your alcohol level may be increasing within your body.
It means Stewart wants to try and keep the driver off the road
for the next few hours.
We can't legally stop him driving because he theoretically
hasn't committed the offence yet.
However, given how recently he's consumed alcohol,
there's a high probability that his alcohol level is going up.
We have advised him that it would be strongly recommended
that he doesn't drive any longer for a period of time.
With the driver compliant,
Stewart gets him and his car off the A1 to the nearest town.
It's over to you. You make the judgment call
when you feel that you are in a better state,
but I would certainly give it at least a couple of hours
before you take to the wheel again.
OK? That's you, all right? All the best. Take care. Bye-bye.
For the driver, it's been a close shave.
He was doing approximately 40mph in a 70mph limit,
which isn't an offence, but it just draws attention to you.
We were right with our suspicion.
He was just lucky enough,
very, very lucky, that he didn't fail the roadside.
As a 400-mile super highway linking
the capitals of Edinburgh and London,
the A1 carries hundreds of thousands of vehicles every day,
from mobile homes to boats and wind turbines.
The road is a vital artery to ferry loads of all shapes and sizes
up and down the country.
In Nottinghamshire, another monster mission is about to get under way.
More than 20 huge farm machines are being transported down the A1
to the country's top show for agricultural equipment.
It's a journey which has been a whole year in the planning.
-Large square baler, ready to go.
-Yeah, ready to go.
And even for the team at one of
the world's largest farm machinery companies,
it's a gigantic challenge.
Coordinating the operation is Nicky McKenzie.
Our plan for today is to have 11 loads.
So we've got six trucks that will be going back and forth up the A1.
With 40,000 farmers from all over the world expected at the show,
every machine needs to look its best.
For marketing manager Chris Wiltshire,
it's a great opportunity to showcase their whole fleet.
We take everything from our small tractors,
with a starting price of around the £40,000 mark,
all the way through to our largest combines
that can be anything up to £400,000.
The first to be loaded onto the six trucks are the big hitters.
These beasts will be the centrepiece of the display,
so it's vital they arrive at the showground by lunchtime
so they can be manoeuvred into place...
It's really time-critical
to ensure that we get our machines in the right order
so we can start building our stand in the right order.
..and already, it looks like today's weather could be a problem.
If there's a lot of crosswind,
the guys will just have to make sure that the chains are really secure
and just double-check everything.
If it gets too windy, sometimes they can't travel,
because it's not safe.
Dave Shipman, who will be leading the first convoy,
needs to make sure everything is securely strapped down.
The sort of things like panels on
the side of balers, combine side panels.
Obviously we're travelling at 50mph,
the wind will just get under them and blow them up.
It's just a case of making sure everything's really battened down.
At nearly four metres wide in places,
even loading these agricultural monsters is precarious.
This one actually overhangs quite a bit, the tyres overhang the trailer.
Even for this experienced team, it's going to be a big challenge.
No hiccups. The machines are all good to go.
I don't know what it's going to be like down the other end.
It can be absolute chaos, but we won't know until we get there.
Dave and his six low-loaders are finally heading to Peterborough,
and the A1 is about to play host to this heavyweight convoy.
Going to go east on the A52 to the A1.
Join the A1 down to the Peterborough showground.
They're on a tight schedule,
so Dave knows everything needs to go without a hitch.
The guys from John Deere have put a bit of pressure on us
to get them down there. They're waiting down there for us.
They need to get these machines into the marquee
and get the marquee built up and finished around the machines.
And Dave's only half an hour into the journey when there's an issue.
Erm, I don't know if some of the guys have got a problem,
but they're not behind me at the moment.
I don't know how far they are behind me.
He's about to hit the A1, but seems to have lost the rest of the convoy.
I don't know where the guys have got to.
Are you guys coming?
A row of giant farm machines is hardly a needle in a haystack.
Mark? Ryan? Anybody? Can you hear me?
But if Dave doesn't find them soon,
his tight schedule will be in trouble.
I've no idea where they are.
More than 60 miles north,
the A1 is in gridlock, and the emergency services
are dealing with a much more serious crisis.
Traffic officers Paul Day and Rob Larkin
are still sorting out a multi-car pile-up
involving a woman with a potentially serious spinal injury.
-Do you want some more lights or are you all right?
They've been forced to shut the whole of the northbound carriageway
while they work out how to free her.
As you can see, there's a lot of equipment, a lot of people,
which is why traffic is stopped behind us.
That gives a big, safe working area for everybody.
The injured woman has now been immobile in her car
for over an hour.
It's imperative they make a decision on how to move her.
The lady is now having her C spine immobilised by the paramedic,
and because of the way the injury has presented,
the fire brigade are going to have to extract her with the roof off.
Neck pain can be an indicator of life-changing injuries,
so medics want the woman to be lifted on a spinal board.
Don't panic, darling. Just keep your head as still as possible.
After the windscreen is out,
they use the jaws of life to remove the roof.
Lots of noise. Don't worry.
The ambulance is just here.
With the roof finally off,
it takes six firefighters and five paramedics
to safely move the casualty
from her car and into the waiting ambulance.
Just letting you know an update.
The casualty is now out of the vehicle
and the fire brigade are packing away.
While the teams have been working to free the driver,
miles of static traffic has been building.
So, as the ambulance rushes to a nearby hospital,
the pressure is now on to get the carriageway clear
and everything moving again.
It's an inconvenience to t'public, that's just a given.
You can't do anything about that.
It's been slightly bigger than we expected at first,
so we've had to stop it for a lot longer than we first thought.
Hopefully it shouldn't be too much longer.
-As the Fire Service depart...
..Rob and Paul put the pieces of the stranded car back together
so it can be taken away.
Happy there? Bit of T-Cut, job's a good'un.
Which leaves one final job for the traffic officers...
-..reopening the A1 as safely as possible.
We run a nice, slow rolling road block.
It gives the traffic time to build up steadily,
so traffic doesn't come wandering up behind you and cause another one.
Nearly two hours after they were the first to arrive,
Rob and Paul are the last to leave the scene,
but it will be a lot longer before the tailbacks clear behind them.
Nearly 200,000 people are killed or injured in accidents
on Britain's roads every year.
Failing to look properly and loss of control
are the biggest causes of collisions -
but bad weather and poor visibility
can also be a big factor.
One area where problems can occur is a two-lane section
of the A1 near Edinburgh.
PCs Stewart Logan and Mike Nash...
Yeah, roger, acknowledged, thank you.
..are patrolling one of the many unlit stretches of the road...
and know that, in bad weather, the risk of an accident can grow.
On a slip road of the A1, they spot what looks like an abandoned car...
Yeah, we've just come across that vehicle now.
..and it's dangerously close to the main carriageway.
The danger that it's in is that it's off the main carriageway,
away from the curb sightline.
But it's on a completely unlit part of the road.
Obviously vehicles aren't going to be looking for it.
It's in the middle of a reservation, as well.
Vehicles coming from this way, vehicles coming from that way...
They're not going to be looking here,
right in the centre of the road.
Could you give me details of the owner of the vehicle, please?
Mike quickly finds out that the car has broken down
and that the owner has called for roadside assistance.
The owner for this has phoned in at 5.10pm
to say that he was arranging his recovery.
So that was 40 minutes ago now,
but that's at the point that he's phoned in.
Who's to say how long the car has actually been sat here?
You can't see the car and it's just not a safe place
for it to be left at all.
We can't leave it. If our lights weren't on this now,
people wouldn't necessarily see it, may make a mistake.
People just end up clattering into the back of it.
That's two tonnes of metal sitting there.
That's somebody ploughing into that. It never ends well.
You know, especially on the A1. It's 70mph here.
People could be travelling at 70.
It's just going to cause no end of devastation.
Although no crime has been committed,
Mike and Stewart decide that the car needs to be moved immediately.
We've invoked police powers
and we're going to get the vehicle lifted for causing
an obstruction/danger to other road users.
You leave your hazards on, or you leave some sort of light on,
but for some unknown reason, that's been left completely in the dark,
locked up, and somebody has walked away from that.
You just think, "That's crazy."
It's taken nearly 30 minutes to arrange for the abandoned car
to be removed.
For the officers, it's been all about keeping the A1 safe.
The driver may be a bit annoyed that we've moved it.
He may be a bit annoyed at having
to go out of his way to go and get the vehicle collected
from a recovery yard, but to be honest with you,
I don't really care.
The fact is that's off the road
and that vehicle is now not causing a hazard to other road users.
More than 270 miles south, just off
the A1 in Nottinghamshire,
another vehicle is
stuck on the side of the road.
Mark? Ryan? Anybody? Can you hear me?
Dave Shipman has lost his convoy of five trucks which are
ferrying huge farm machines to a major agricultural show.
I'm going to have to ring, I think.
No-one's on the radio, so he tries the phone.
You're on your way, are you?
OK. No worries, then.
Keep coming, then, and I'll make my way, yeah?
Finally, the convoy is reunited.
The low-loaders and their giant farm machines
can now make their way south down the motorway.
We've just got on the A1 at Grantham.
and I can see all the trucks in the mirror.
The convoy must be at the showground
by lunchtime to get the vehicles onto their stand,
and high winds are slowing them down.
Yeah, the wind is getting hold of us a little bit now.
These boys in the other trucks are obviously feeling OK,
but I'm just sticking to 50mph.
You can feel it starting to buffet you about a little bit.
Six low-loaders in convoy run nearly 300 metres,
which can cause traffic chaos,
but Dave and his team try and make it easy
for fellow drivers to get past.
It's mainly lorries trying to overtake other lorries.
And if you stay... If you're in convoy, stick to about 50mph,
the lorries can overtake you quite quickly,
which doesn't then affect the cars.
You will get two drivers that are pretty stubborn
and sit at the side of each other,
but it just causes chaos behind.
Despite a few hiccups, the convoy has made it.
This is it. We're here.
They arrive at the East of England Showground just in time.
No chance for a coffee break, though.
They need to unload the vehicles and get them in place,
but these titans need careful handling.
You just have to have two people...guiding you.
With all the machinery safely unloaded, Dave's work is done.
Now it's down to the John Deere team to get them into position.
The first one to go in would be the S-Series Combine,
so our biggest combine.
We'll get that in place and get
the line right on the combine, and then the other machines
will just match in in that same position as well,
so it all looks good.
Weighing in at more than 20 tonnes, with 38-inch tyres,
this mammoth could do serious damage to the grass,
so the team need to lay the way.
Everywhere the combine goes,
we have to put the boards underneath the wheels
just so that we spread the weight out.
REVERSING ALARM BEEPS
On the show day, we want to make it look like
we've just dropped the combine in place.
After two hours of painstaking manoeuvring,
the first three machines are in place.
It's the opening morning of the show,
and the completed John Deere stand
is at the heart of the showground...
with all 23 vehicles in position.
40,000 people are expected over the next two days
to view products from nearly 900 exhibitors.
Becca, can you just fit those into the 7310? Thanks.
And Chris is hoping at least some of them are in the market
for some new machinery.
Maybe we get somebody looking to purchase, whether it be a tractor,
combine or sprayer, and we can start that sales process today.
There's certainly been plenty of interest,
and with a steady stream of visitors,
it looks like the epic effort has all been worthwhile.
Nearly 90 miles north, on the A1
near Doncaster in south Yorkshire,
traffic officers Paul Day
and Rob Larkin are back on patrol.
And it's not long before they spot
some stranded travellers who look like
they could be in need of help.
One-Three, seen from the opposite carriageway.
We've got a broken-down double-decker bus
-on the hard shoulder.
-It's got kids on and all.
We believe there's passengers on it.
37-38 on the Alpha-A1-M, over.
The hard shoulder's a notoriously dangerous place to be,
and if there are children on board,
Paul and Rob need to get them off the road quickly.
Within minutes of looping back,
they're at the stranded double-decker...
..and their concerns are confirmed.
What have we got? How many kids have you got on?
With over 40 five and six-year-olds on the bus and traffic thundering up
behind at 70mph, the priority is to get them to safety,
but moving the kids off the bus isn't an option.
There's nowhere to corral them here, just up the banking,
so it's best to leave them on.
What we're going to do, put a bit of traffic management out
down the hard shoulder and just make us a bit more visible
to the travelling public.
While Rob closes the hard shoulder behind the bus,
Paul has another idea to protect the children.
Have you got any spare seats?
Right, can you move the kids from the back further forward
just in case somebody runs into the back of the bus?
The kids are as safe as Paul can make them for now,
but it's not the end to the school trip anyone was expecting.
We've been to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park and the bus has now broken down
and we're stuck on the A1 with some
-very agitated, hyperactive children.
Where has everybody been today?
-KIDS: Wildlife park!
And what sort of animals were we seeing at the wildlife park?
-Lions? What noise does a lion make?
Wow, that's loud.
They should be back in Bradford by now.
Instead, they're still more than 35 miles away.
-We've been stuck about...
-About 40 minutes?
-..25 minutes now.
-No, longer, love.
Who saw two meerkats?
Did you compare them?
No? Nobody would have got that one.
But at least the hard shoulder closure seems to be working.
What you'll see is a lot of them will move across from the lane
that they're in, into the second lane, to create a space,
which is what we're trying to achieve.
To everyone's relief, the replacement double-decker arrives.
But now Paul needs to get 46 excited kids
from one bus to another...
..just a few feet from fast-moving traffic.
Right, REALLY sensibly.
Keep following. Thank you.
Bye. See you.
See you. Ta-ra. Bye. See you.
With the kids all safely on board, all they need is the driver.
They're all on, driver, you can go when you're ready.
-See you, kids. Have a good day!
-Thank you, bye!
-And they're finally on their way.
But with a stranded bus still to deal with
and rush hour fast approaching,
this job is far from over for Paul and Rob.
With nearly 2,500 pieces of debris collected from the A1 every year,
keeping the roads safe and clear
is a key priority for the teams who watch over it.
Near Morpeth in Northumberland,
the police are targeting the problem.
Monday morning, weekend's over.
PC Darren Lant is on the lookout for any vehicles
with dangerously unsecured loads
which could end up causing a serious accident.
Every time we see a heavy goods vehicle,
I'll have a look at it and see if the load is secure.
Imagine one of them coming off.
They're probably a half a tonne tyre, something like that.
And they're all strapped down, nice and secure.
Every time we'll make sure whatever load it's carrying is safe.
And stop it if we need to.
But a few miles up the road,
another driver's careless packing
is leaving other A1 motorists' lives at risk.
There's a van gone past,
but his back doors are wide open and he's only got a bit of rope or tape
or something over the doors.
Once Darren can get a proper look,
that's not the only thing wrong here.
So the first thing - no numberplate.
I cannot do a check on it because the numberplate
is probably on the door. You know, he's got a load,
a load of stuff in there that's going to bounce all over the place.
A large metal frame sticking out is why the doors have been wedged open.
That appears to be secured tightly,
but everything else loose in the back is a potential hazard.
You've got boxes of tools, you've got bags of tools,
you've got all sorts lying around in there which clearly are insecure.
Someone driving along, they're doing 50, 60mph
behind this guy and then a cordless drill bounces out
the back of the truck and goes through the windscreen.
It's going to cause serious injury there,
it's going to cause a massive crash.
Some may say it's an exaggeration that it could cause a fatality,
but I don't see the exaggeration at all.
We'll get him stopped and we'll have a chat with him
and decide what we're going to do with the load.
For police officers like Darren,
driving with an unsecured load is a serious offence,
and motorists caught in the act can face an immediate fine
and points on their licence.
All right? How are you doing?
Is it your van, or a company van, or work's van or what?
-Come and have a chat with us for two seconds,
we'll have... I need to do a sequence as to why I've stopped you.
-Who loaded this?
You did. It's not the right load for this van, like, is it?
Cannot see your numberplate, where's your numberplate?
I'm assuming it's on this side of the door, is it?
You've got metal rods, you've got boxes...
all sorts, tools lying all over the place.
The driver is cautioned, fined £100,
and will receive three points on his licence.
Had you put them in the front,
passenger's footwell or something - fine, not a problem,
but you cannot be driving up the A1 with tools loose like that
in the back of there. If you've got to brake for some reason,
all that is going to come out. Whether you agree with it or not,
-but do you understand what I'm saying?
With just a few miles left to go on his journey,
Darren is prepared to let him continue
if he can stash the dangerous items inside.
I know you cannot put the rods or anything in there,
but the stuff that's going to bounce around...
I can tie the rods up.
Yeah, if you can do that, that would be great.
It's all secured up now, is it?
-Aye, it's better.
-Excellent, that's great.
I'll follow you up round and then just make sure nowt bounces out.
Right, thank you.
It's not ideal, but I'm not going to prohibit him
from moving any further. He's done the best he can now,
certainly doesn't look like anything's going to fall out now,
but prior to stopping him,
that tool box was about to fall out, I think.
It certainly wouldn't have taken much longer.
After escorting the van to the next junction,
Darren is convinced he has
eliminated another potential danger from the A1.
Him safely off the A1 now,
there's less risk of any major injuries on the side roads.
He'll get the paperwork through the post for it.
But Darren is still on the lookout
for more vehicles which pose a risk to other motorists.
Nearly 150 miles south,
Paul Day and Rob Larkin are still dealing with a double-decker
that's broken down.
With the 46 schoolchildren who were on board now safely away,
their attention turns to moving the bus.
Yeah, the difficult bit is done.
They were really good kids, I was impressed.
The bus has been leaking water.
To get it started, they need to refill it.
He's got to get water in from that side.
But with the radiator cap just inches from fast-moving traffic,
it's too risky.
Just give us one minute.
Collisions like this, recorded on a driver's dash cam,
are all too common.
On average, every week someone is killed or seriously injured
on the hard shoulder, so Paul and Rob need to protect the mechanic.
Rob's gone back, he's called for signs and signals
to put a lane-one closure on.
There's no way he'll be able to get that in safely,
not with this traffic anyway.
Once Rob has safely coned off the area, the mechanics get to work.
But it's not looking good. The water is draining straight out.
The bus will have to be moved to be looked at properly,
so Paul calls for backup.
One-Three, yeah, can you get me an ETA for...
I believe it's Yankee-One-Two, to get to 37?
This water is not staying in the vehicle,
so I'm thinking we might have to rolling block.
The bus will struggle to join fast-moving traffic,
so Paul wants to create a gap for it to pull out into.
Using another traffic car, they can slow oncoming vehicles right down.
Got somebody coming to put a rolling block on.
So when the rolling block goes on, we'll get a gap.
He can then set off at his leisure, and take your time getting off.
But first, they need to get things moving again.
Now, if we've still got this lane closure up,
by the time he gets here,
he's going to be stuck in the traffic
and he won't create us a gap. So, if we take this off now,
traffic starts flowing again and it facilitates us
to create a gap to get this double-decker off.
Even with the cones gone, though,
drivers seem reluctant to use both lanes.
It's gone off, but as per usual, we're still here,
so they don't realise they can use it.
Because they see us here.
It's a case of, "Oh, we'll give them a wide berth",
which is a good thing, but we're actually waiting for these cars
to get clear so we can do the rolling roadblock.
A lot of car drivers are like sheep.
They will follow each other, like, they weren't using lane one,
as soon as the wagon driver came up lane one, that's it,
everybody follows him and now it's flowing freely again.
It's starting to free up.
If he just gets me the last vehicle through,
then we can clear it, we can run it from there on.
See our colleague now,
he's at the back of this traffic creating a rolling roadblock.
We can see him, he's created a gap,
so now we can move off with the bus.
Alpha, and for One-Two's benefit,
this vehicle has left the scene.
If he just keeps the block on, just till it clears.
Finally, nearly two hours after arriving,
Paul and Rob's work is done.
The 46 kids and their bus are all safely off the A1
and are on their way home.
Police officers on the A1 have an armoury of technology
on hand to help catch offenders.
In Northumberland, close to the town of Alnwick,
a suspicious vehicle has been flagged up.
PC Darren Lant is partway through his shift.
-His onboard camera, which is linked to
a comprehensive automatic numberplate recognition system -
ANPR for short -
has picked up a suspect vehicle.
We've had a vehicle that went past that has no insurance,
which poses a significant risk,
which is why we need to try and see
if we can find it and get him stopped
and check that he has insurance.
But the information is that he's not.
This may well be him.
Darren spots the van up ahead.
Yeah, this is it.
All right? How are we doing?
Is this your van, is it?
-No, it's me mate's.
-It's your mate's, is it?
-Can I see your driving licence?
-I don't have owt with us, mate.
-Are you insured to drive the van, are you?
Come and have a chat with me for two seconds
in the back of the car and we'll get some details down.
We'll do a couple of checks, make sure everything is all right.
The driver doesn't own the van, but still claims everything is in order.
So I need to know which insurance you are using
-that allows you to drive this van.
Right. Does it allow you to drive other vehicles,
third-party, does it?
-Time for another check, and an anxious wait.
So the insurance on his vehicle, that expired in January, yeah?
Driving without insurance could mean six points on his licence
and a sizeable fine.
It's not looking good, mate, OK?
Your car, there's no insurance on that one, OK?
-That's with the Halifax insurance.
Well, they're saying there's nae insurance on there,
and there's no insurance showing on this one,
so you're potentially driving with no insurance.
I'm going to caution you. You're not under arrest,
it's just something I've got to say
when I suspect an offence has been committed.
The next step is to seize the vehicle.
The owner will have seven working days to claim it.
If he doesn't, it could be sold or crushed.
What will happen is we'll have to take it away
until such times that the owner can come and prove
that they do own it and they have insurance for it.
And the driver's problems, too, are piling up.
He now has no van and it looks like
he could be dropped off 50 miles
from his home in Durham.
We won't be taking you from here to Durham, like, all right?
I'll let you know that straightaway,
we'll not be taking you to Durham.
We'll take you to Alnwick, the next big town,
and you can arrange collection from there, all right?
40 minutes later, the van and driver are taken
to nearby Alnwick by another police officer.
I class it as a success.
It's another uninsured driver off the road,
but it goes to prove the importance
and the benefit and the value of ANPR fitted to the patrol cars.
In Alnwick, the driver has to work out
how to make the 50-mile journey home,
but that's not Darren's problem.
We're not taxis. We are a very limited and very expensive resource
and we're needed at all times,
and it just doesn't justify taking a patrol car off the road
for any sort of unnecessary time.
The van was finally returned to
its owner after he produced proof of insurance.
The motorist, Ivor Bennett, was later fined a total of £810
and received six points on his licence
for driving with no insurance.
And after their bus broke down during their school trip,
all the children finally had a safe journey back home.
Emergency services fight to cut a woman free from her car after a rush-hour crash. Police take a motorist suspected of drink-driving off the A1. And a convoy of monster machines marches down the Great North Road.