Manchester

Coronavirus: Police chief Ian Hopkins angered by speeding drivers

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins Image copyright GMP
Image caption Speeding is putting people's lives at risk, says Chief Constable Ian Hopkins

A motorist was caught driving at 81mph in a 30mph zone having taken advantage of the quiet roads during the coronavirus lockdown.

Ian Hopkins, chief constable of Greater Manchester, revealed the case, saying some drivers use roads as race tracks.

In the first week of April, 1,145 motorists were caught speeding, with 264 charges brought on motorways.

Up to four in 10 drivers broke the limit with one caught at 129mph on the M62, Mr Hopkins said.

Accompanied by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, Mr Hopkins told a press briefing that normally only one in 10 drivers break the speed limit in the region.

Mr Hopkins said the force would be "really stepping up enforcement" including putting "speed camera vans back out on the roads".

Compliance with the lockdown rules has generally been good, he said, with numbers of private car journeys similar to traffic levels in the 1950s.

"Unfortunately, [some] people using our roads are now treating them as a race track," he said.

"It's not acceptable... it's putting people's lives at risk and we will be doing much more enforcement."

Mr Hopkins said his force received more than 1,000 reports of breaches of the coronavirus lockdown over the Easter weekend but more officers were now back on duty and they would target repeat offenders.

Around 2,000 GMP officers and staff have been off work - up to 21% of the workforce.

But, Mr Hopkins said this was down to 9%, thanks to more coronavirus testing, with others coming out of self-isolation and some staff working from home.

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