In a bid to understand the role of a Lancashire Police Roads officer, a Lancashire Telegraph reporter embarked on a ride-along with officers from the constabulary.

Cruising down the M6 in a 140mph chase to catch potential criminals is not how I expected my Wednesday (August 23) shift to go but it definitely encapsulated the adrenaline-fueled unpredictability that defines the life of a police officer.

A few officers I spoke to on Wednesday mentioned how often members of the public slate the force for ‘not doing anything’ but after gaining a glimpse into their daily lives, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In June, Lancashire's roads policing department underwent a major remodel transformation with the creation of two new teams: the Roads Crime Team and the Roads Policing Unit (RPU).

The Roads Crime Team focuses on tackling serious offenses like drug trafficking, money laundering, and burglary that exploit the road network.

The RPU, on the other hand, concentrates on curbing traffic violations and responding to crashes, with a special emphasis on addressing issues like speeding and drink/drug-driving.

I was invited to Lancashire Constabulary HQ on Saunders Lane, Hutton, on Wednesday (August 23rd) where I was granted a firsthand look at the array of vehicles and new equipment and the opportunity to speak to senior officers.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, assistant chief constable at Lancashire Police, Pete Lawson said: “Even in just two month, the kind of impact the RPU has had is really impressive. In two months, we’ve had 152 arrests for drink driving, and almost 2,000 interventions round people not wearing seatbelts, or speeding, or using their mobile phone.

“The Roads Crime Team’s whole purpose is to make the roads in Lancashire a very hostile place for serious and organised criminals. They’re experienced, highly-trained officers with high performance vehicles. They’ve got both marked and unmarked cars, and in two months, results are beginning to speak for themselves.”

Since the launch in June, the Roads Crime Team has made 92 arrests, recovered 60 stolen vehicles, seized £144,000 in cash, and recovered £208,000 worth of drugs.

After the initial briefing, I was paired with PC Simon Sweeney for a drive around town, a passionate officer from the RPU team with 15 years of experience under his belt.

He said: “Our bread and butter is road traffic collisions and dealing with crashes is day to day work. I’ve been dealing with fatalities every day since I was 19. It’s difficult but you have to deal with it because you’ve got a job to do and you’ve got to be there to support the families.”

Our conversation was intermittently interrupted by the stream of updates including a mixture of police jargon, two and three-digit number codes, and phrases like ‘large amount of cash recovered’ coming from his radio patrol.

Despite acknowledging the challenges of his role, Simon expressed a genuine love for his job in the RPU. He added: “It’s the best part of the police force. You get all this amazing high-tech equipment and you have a responsibility. People look up to you and it’s a rewarding role.”

Our journey led us to a stop on the side stretch of Blackpool Road in Preston, where we engaged in stop checks, offering me an immediate glimpse into the vigilance and attention to detail that the job demanded.

Fortunately, no one on the road had to be breathalysed so for the sake of journalistic purposes, I decided to take one for the team and do one.

It was negative (and I got to keep the tube as memorabilia) but if the person is over 35 microgrammes of alcohol then they will be arrested and taken to the station for another test.

We headed back to the base and I was then paired up with another officer, this time from the Road Crimes Team.

PC Stuart Duck, known as ‘Ducky’ took me out on a ride along which pretty tame to begin with. Perched on the hard shoulder of the motorway, I sat in the passenger seat of the Audi, anticipation simmering.

Beside me, Ducky sat patiently ready to pounce at the right moment as he waited for a vehicle, believed to be involved in drug supplying, to pass by.

Ducky said: “This was a tip off which came from the public. A lot of information comes from communities so it’s really important people report to us because then we can catch them."

After about 25 minutes, he was told the vehicle must have gone by undetected, “probably blocked by a HGV”, Ducky said.

But less than five minutes later, Ducky and the other officers in the three unmarked police cars ahead of us, were radioed that the suspect is on the move.

With no time to waste, we were speeding down the M6 at 140mph before I had even registered what was said on the patrol.

After the exhilarating pursuit, Ducky, and I pulled into a quiet car park to meet another officer for a quick fuel bar and a coffee for a brief moment of calm.

The relaxation was short-lived as the radio buzzed again and we were back in action and I was then dropped off at the station while the officers continued to carry out their demanding job.

From the split-second decision-making to the meticulous attention to detail during routine stop and search checks, their commitment to ensuring public safety is clear.