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Role of Traffic Officers - what are their duties/responsibilities, when did they start policing supermarket car parks?
usignuolo
post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 10:03
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This is on the Highways Agency website - it describes the role of Highways Traffic Officers. Did I miss something (judging from recent posts) are they short of work and have taken up policing supermarket car parks as well? Nothing about that in here. huh.gif

Since we first introduced Traffic Officers on our network in 2004 the Highways Agency has received a number of queries from customers asking about the roles and responsibilities of our Traffic Officers, about the vehicles used and the equipment that is carried in them, and about the costs associated with the implementation of the service.

A number of these questions have been answered under Freedom of Information requests and are available to view on our Disclosure Log. Responses to commonly asked questions are also available below.

Q) What are the roles and responsibilities of Highways Agency Traffic Officers?

A total of 25 per cent of all congestion is caused by incidents. This is what the Traffic officer Service is tackling. Traffic Officers have taken over 76 per cent of all police motorway duties and are responsible for:

  • managing incidents, except where there is a loss of life, injury or potential criminal activity
  • setting signs and signals and answering emergency roadside telephones
  • arranging the removal of damaged or broken down/abandoned vehicles in partnership with the police
  • removing debris and other obstructions from the carriageway
The role of a Traffic Officer involves:

  • managing incidents that do not involve loss of life, injury or potential criminal activity
  • supporting the police when they are managing incidents, particularly in managing traffic
  • high visibility patrols to reassure the public
  • dealing with accident damaged, broken down and abandoned vehicles
  • providing rolling road closures to hold traffic back to allow removal of debris, installation of temporary traffic management and other purposes
  • providing temporary road closures
  • clearing debris, animals and found property from the network
  • indentification of defects and potential improvements to the network
  • monitoring roadworks
  • planning arrangements for forthcoming special events
  • educating road users
Q) What powers under the Traffic Management Act 2004 do Traffic Officers have?

The Highways Agency Traffic Officers have powers to:

  • Stop traffic and close roads, lanes and carriageways;
  • Direct and divert traffic;
  • Place and operate traffic signs;
  • Manage traffic and traffic surveys.
Failure to comply with a Highways Agency Traffic Officer’s directions or sign is an offence and could lead to:

  • A fine of up to £1,000
  • Driving Licence endorsement; or
  • Disqualification.
Assaulting, willfully obstructing or impersonating a Traffic Officer is an offence and could lead to a fine of up to £5,000 or Imprisonment.

This post has been edited by usignuolo: Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 10:04
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post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 10:03
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Miles
post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 13:00
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Until July 2006 I was the Fleet Manager of the Traffic Officer Training Fleet and was contracted to the Highways Agency via my parent company; Mouchel Parkman.

My job was to ensure the Fleet were maintained and roadworthy, both mechanically and legally, that they were sufficiently equipped and that there were sufficient vehicles available at the various training venues around the UK to fulfil the training requirements.

As far as I am aware a Traffic Officer's duties are:

QUOTE (usignuolo @ Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 10:03) *
  • managing incidents, except where there is a loss of life, injury or potential criminal activity
  • setting signs and signals and answering emergency roadside telephones
  • arranging the removal of damaged or broken down/abandoned vehicles in partnership with the police
  • removing debris and other obstructions from the carriageway
The role of a Traffic Officer involves:

  • managing incidents that do not involve loss of life, injury or potential criminal activity
  • supporting the police when they are managing incidents, particularly in managing traffic
  • high visibility patrols to reassure the public
  • dealing with accident damaged, broken down and abandoned vehicles
  • providing rolling road closures to hold traffic back to allow removal of debris, installation of temporary traffic management and other purposes
  • providing temporary road closures
  • clearing debris, animals and found property from the network
  • indentification of defects and potential improvements to the network
  • monitoring roadworks
  • planning arrangements for forthcoming special events educating road users
Traffic Officers have no special powers and are, for all intents and purposes, just ordinary citizens. I would be very surprised, if not a little concerned, if I saw them doing anything with parking tickets.

Here's some pics of the HATO vehicles I took at our storage facility between training:



And me zooming about in one of them at one of the training facilities at Alconbury:


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usignuolo
post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 14:07
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There have been a couple of incidents posted here recently concerning traffic police. In one case, in a Tesco car park, when a poster here objected to a sign about fining illegal parking, and complained formally to the manager, they were told that it was to deter parking in disabled spaces and had been erected on the advice of the police, as when someone parked in a disabled space without a blue sticker, they called in the local traffic officer to deal with them. What business have the traffic police with managing disabled spaces in a private car park?

Secondly there was another incident where there was a lot of congestion in a Morrisons car park and when the poster turned up he found the police were on site IN THE CARPARK, at Morrisons request apparently, directing the traffic. A visitor to the store, he parked his car, and was told by the police to move it. He pointed out it was not obstructing anything and that it was a private car park, and was then formally charged with obstructing police. What are the police doing directing traffic in Morrisons car park in the first place?
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glasgow_bhoy
post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 14:23
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First off, the Tesco (It wasn't actually Tesco though, it was Costco or Macro something like that) incident did not specifically whether it was traffic cops or beat cops. Either way the police never told them that. They are just lying to try and wriggle out of awkward questions

As for the Morrisons incident- this may or may not be traffic cops, but they are permitted to handle large events (i.e. they will be directing traffic around biug shopping centres no doubt as it gets busy for xmas). This way, they keep the traffic flowing in the streets surrounding the supermarket, people don't get exhaserbated through inefficient parking and accidents are less likely. They could not enforce the parking restrictions in the car park though.
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Miles
post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 14:30
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Hi usignuolo,

You are confusing me. Are you referring to a Traffic Police Officer, or a Highways Agency Traffic Officer?
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usignuolo
post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 15:46
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Not sure, for the first incident, (sorry I thought it was Tesco of course it was actually Costco) the deputy manager told them they had been advised to put up the notice by the "traffic officer" who they called when they found someone parking in a disabled bay without a permit.

What are Traffic Police as opposed to Highways Traffic Police? Is it a particular specialism and what are their duties? Would they come out to a supermarket car park to enforce parking for disabled bays?

In second case, when the punter refused to be told where to park, they issued him with an obstructing the police charge. Does that count as the police directing car parking in the car park?

This post has been edited by usignuolo: Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 15:55
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BaggieBoy
post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 16:30
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Methinks you have got confused. Highway Agency Traffic Officers (aka HATOs) that you posted the resonsibilities for are nothing to do to the Police (or Traffic Police). The supermarket incidents you highlighted involved Police (traffic or otherwise) and had nothing to do with HATOs (which is how you started this thraed).
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nomadros
post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 19:03
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I always thought they were there for target practice and spitting on.
Plastic authority (or pretensions thereof) doesn't sit well with me.
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captain swoop
post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 19:43
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QUOTE (nomadros @ Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 19:03) *
I always thought they were there for target practice and spitting on.



Which comment tells me more about you than you could ever know.

From what I have seen of them in action in my many trips a week up and down the Northern end of the M1 and the A1 they do a good job of keeping traffic moving and removing any broken down or crashed vehicles (plus their occupants) from danger.
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Ocelot
post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 19:48
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QUOTE (usignuolo @ Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 10:03) *
Failure to comply with a Highways Agency Traffic Officer’s directions or sign is an offence and could lead to:

[*]A fine of up to £1,000
[*]Driving Licence endorsement; or
[*]Disqualification.


I wonder how they could prove you didn't comply with their directions?
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nomadros
post Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 20:08
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QUOTE (captain swoop @ Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 19:43) *
QUOTE (nomadros @ Mon, 14 Dec 2009 - 19:03) *
I always thought they were there for target practice and spitting on.



Which comment tells me more about you than you could ever know.

From what I have seen of them in action in my many trips a week up and down the Northern end of the M1 and the A1 they do a good job of keeping traffic moving and removing any broken down or crashed vehicles (plus their occupants) from danger.


Glad I could enlighten you.
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PRg
post Tue, 15 Dec 2009 - 02:10
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The only problem I have with highways agency is that you have to slow down to 75ish until you get side on with them and see the highways agency logo as they have changed the backs of their vehicle to look exactly like a police traffic vehicle.


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Landshark
post Tue, 15 Dec 2009 - 14:48
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Unfortuantly they, the HA, (not the guys/girls that actually do the job) have suceeded it what they are trying to do in confusing the general public into thinking they are some type of police

HIGHWAYS AGENCY TRAFFIC OFFICERS ARE NOT THE POLICE

they have been purposefully called traffic officers and they vehicles marked up to confuse the public (and it works)

As in the pictures above, the backs of the vehicles used to have HIGHWAYS AGENCY in big letters, it seems now you would be lucky to see it when stood right behind it as its written in small letters and is the length of the high level brake light, whilst in the biggest font possible are the words TRAFFIC OFFICER, come to own conclusions, as i'm sure i will be branded anti HATO for these comments!!
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Miles
post Tue, 15 Dec 2009 - 16:09
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QUOTE (Landshark @ Tue, 15 Dec 2009 - 14:48) *
...i'm sure i will be branded anti HATO for these comments!!


Not by me you won't.

When I first started at the job I queried why the HA were using 4x4's, as small panel vans would be much more suitable for the role the T.O.'s would be doing. I made my T.O. contact in the HA aware that these 4x4's were so overloaded with kit that they were unstable during turning maneuvers. (I later discovered that a brand-new and fully equipped Land Rover was rolled by one of the trainers only a few weeks before I started!)

It's not a great photo, but here you go:


I was advised that they had approached the police for advice and were recommended these vehicles. The HA had neglected, however, to tell the police just how much kit they would be carrying... rolleyes.gif . I can't comment on whether the HA had an agenda to appear police-like. They just took the easy route in selecting vehicles. They have tried to alter the uniforms as much as they can, but are constrained by the small number of H&S day-glow colours available.

I personally think the HATO's do a brilliant job and are seriously under-appreciated. The training they received (whilst I was working on the project) was of a very high standard. Many of the trainers were ex-police; either retired or invalided out.
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strollingplayer
post Tue, 15 Dec 2009 - 17:33
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I did read the justification for the vehicles somewhere - something to do with the extra power making it easier to haul a dead vehicle off the carriageway quickly.

In any case, my understanding is that HATOs only work in England - the folks now working in Wales (since South Wales Police decided to stop doing the boring stuff on the M4 to concentrate on the profitable stuff) I believe are called TEOs, and drive around in similarly-liveried vehicles, with the legend TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT in place of HIGHWAYS AGENCY on the back. Haven't seen one from the front yet. Strictly speaking, they aren't HATOs because trunk roads in Wales are not the responsibility of the HA, but of Transport Wales. I wonder why they didn't call them Transport Wales Traffic Officers ...


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southpaw82
post Tue, 15 Dec 2009 - 18:05
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QUOTE (Landshark @ Tue, 15 Dec 2009 - 14:48) *
as i'm sure i will be branded anti HATO for these comments!!


I wouldn't worry about it. I've been branded anti-CSO and all sorts... big effin deal rolleyes.gif


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Any comments made do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. No lawyer/client relationship should be assumed nor should any duty of care be owed.
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glasgow_bhoy
post Tue, 15 Dec 2009 - 22:10
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Tue, 15 Dec 2009 - 18:05) *
QUOTE (Landshark @ Tue, 15 Dec 2009 - 14:48) *
as i'm sure i will be branded anti HATO for these comments!!


I wouldn't worry about it. I've been branded anti-CSO and all sorts... big effin deal rolleyes.gif



you've been branded a fooking parking attendant. Nuff said.
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scbk
post Wed, 16 Dec 2009 - 00:32
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QUOTE (strollingplayer @ Tue, 15 Dec 2009 - 17:33) *
I did read the justification for the vehicles somewhere - something to do with the extra power making it easier to haul a dead vehicle off the carriageway quickly.


I'm not sure if they're even allowed to tow accident damaged vehicles off the road?
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PRg
post Wed, 16 Dec 2009 - 01:21
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Are these highways agency staff on a hell of a lot less pay than a traffic officer would be? Surely it would make sense, from their side, to have real police with real powers trawling up and down the motorway every day, and have them do the same job as the highways agency but when there is a real danger on the roads they can prevent it from happpening instead of cleaning up after it. The same with PCSO's, I dont understand why they cant use real police unless there is a big difference in pay. The only other thing I can think of is the training costs.


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glasgow_bhoy
post Wed, 16 Dec 2009 - 01:35
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Why have they seen fit to not have them in Scotland? Do they see them as unneccesary?
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