Officers working on making Greater Manchester’s roads safer, have been awarded for their efforts.
The Operation Wolverine team scooped two awards; the first at the UK Road Offender Education Awards where it won the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s award for ‘Outstanding Contribution for Road Safety’, and ‘Operation of the Year’ award at the Chief’s Constable’s Annual Awards at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.
The operation debuted in 2007 to address loopholes in insurance legislation but specifically target criminality and fraud in relation to vehicle insurance and driving licence offences.
Casualty reduction was identified as a force priority in 2021, with sergeant Mike Lawrenson brought into the unit.
Disrupt and retain
Under new direction, the unit adopted a hard ‘disrupt and retain’ stance. Utilising niche powers under road traffic law, the team are seizing and retaining more vehicles, denying criminals their assets and working collaboratively with other departments across the force.
The operation has had a significant positive impact on the communities GMP serve, and the number of road deaths in Greater Manchester has reduced, decreasing by 20 per cent since 2021.
Vehicle seizures have been consistently breaking the 1,000 mark in recent months, with Operation Wolverine playing a key part.
Sergeant Mike Lawrenson said: “Being formally recognised for our hard work and dedication with the Operation of the Year and Outstanding Contribution for Road Safety awards brings an immense sense of pride for every member of the team, past and present.
“There have been some difficult times with the volume of work, which has tripled over the past 18 months in terms of vehicle seizures.
“However, the team has wielded some fantastic results and dealt with almost 5,000 people in the past year. We are proud to have removed some of the most dangerous vehicles on the roads from the hands of criminals.
“These awards are a reflection of the hard work each member of Operation Wolverine has put in to achieve the goal of improving road safety in Greater Manchester and denying criminals the use of our roads.
“To be recognised at such a high level almost feels like a personal thank you, and is a career highlight for each member of the team.”