OUT IN FORCE: Road Policing Command officers stationed at Laidley Police Station Constable Benjamin George, Acting Sergeant Warren Huggins and Senior Constable David Palmer. Picture: Dominic Elsome
OUT IN FORCE: Road Policing Command officers stationed at Laidley Police Station Constable Benjamin George, Acting Sergeant Warren Huggins and Senior Constable David Palmer. Picture: Dominic Elsome

REVEALED: The staggering fines issued by new trial road unit

IT APPEARS while drivers are getting the message about drink driving, that same message is falling on deaf ears when it comes to drug driving.

In a three month trial, Road Policing Command officers are using the Laidley Police Station as home base, targeting problem drivers in the region.

In just five weeks, the three officers have issued infringements for 255 life-endangering offences, including speeding, seatbelts, mobile phone usage and drink and drug driving.

Acting sergeant Warren Huggins is leading the team and said they had found the ratio of drug driving offences to drink drivers was around five-to-one – a worrying number.

“That is a significant concern – the amount of drug driving that we have in the area,” Sgt Huggins said.

“It’s good in one way because the drink driving message is getting out there – now we’re just trying to shift that to the drug driving message.”

The trio are out in force in the region, with an automatic number plate recognition system fitted patrol car and a police bike augmenting their arsenal. Picture: Dominic Elsome
The trio are out in force in the region, with an automatic number plate recognition system fitted patrol car and a police bike augmenting their arsenal. Picture: Dominic Elsome

The three-man team regularly patrol the Warrego Highway between Minden and Helidon, as well as the Gatton, Laidley and surrounding areas.

The trial was initiated due to the region’s growth, and Sgt Huggins said it could become a permanent unit at the Laidley Station – a big boost for road safety in the region.

“At the end of the trial they’ll look at the figures and then, based on those figures and the growth we’ve got in the area, make a decision,” he said.

“Having a dedicated road policing asset is positive – us being here has that local touch, where we can target and give more emphasis to road safety in the local area.”

After just a few short weeks in the area, the trio is already having an effect, with locals changing their behaviour with the knowledge the team is on the lookout for offenders.

“To their credit, when we first got here, we noticed there was a significant issue of speeding and seatbelt offences by locals on our backroads,” he said.

“That has dropped remarkably since we’ve been here, which is good.”

The response from most locals to the team’s presence has been positive.

“Particularly in town and in Gatton they have slowed down a lot and are taking more note of what’s going on,” he said

“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from a lot of the locals, which is good – they know we’re around and have noted that.”

With Christmas just a few days away, and the inevitable rush on the roads beginning, Sgt Huggins reminded drivers they would be out in force across the region, targeting the Fatal Five, with a particular focus on speeding and inattention.