Greater Manchester Police went out on an afternoon of action this Thursday as part of the force’s Operation Classify.

The operation is designed to target drivers on ‘high-risk’ road routes in the borough.

Officers set up on Chorley New Road just after 2pm, with a large dot-matrix display.

The Bolton News: Officers used a speed gun in an effort to stop speeding driversOfficers used a speed gun in an effort to stop speeding drivers (Image: Jack Fifield, Newsquest)

In the hour The Bolton News observed, no drivers were pulled over and no tickets were issued – with most driving well under the 40 mph limit, with drivers recorded going as slow as 14.

A TruSpeed laser device was used.

Inspector Nick Bonson led the operation.

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The inspector, who has been in GMP for 17 years, explained that reducing road danger is a ‘force-wide effort’, with operations such as this one designed to prevent speeding, rather than catch it.

The Bolton News: Inspector Nick Bonson led the operationInspector Nick Bonson led the operation (Image: Jack Fifield, Newsquest)

He said: “We’ve been doing this now for several months and we’ve caught numerous people for speeding offences, we’ve seized vehicles, drink-driving, drug-driving, the whole variety.

“I think a lot of it is down to the public and the drivers, the way people drive. We want people to drive safely and according to the law, and this is doing our bit to challenge people who don’t.

“With support from partners there will be other interventions put in place that will make the roads perhaps safer from the way they’re laid out, but what’s in our hands is dealing with speeder sand drink drivers, and that’s what we’re here to do.”

High-risk roads, such as Chorley New Road, have been selected based on GMP research.

There have been a number of fatal collisions on the road.

On May 5, 2022, a drunk driver ran a red light before hitting  52-year-old Lee Raynor, who was cycling on the road. He sustained fatal injuries.


The Bolton News: Drivers were warned of the operation by a dot matrix displayDrivers were warned of the operation by a dot matrix display (Image: Jack Fifield, Newsquest)

Inspector Bonson added: “We did the research, and we understood the main roads that contributed the most – that’s where we’ve really focussed our patrols, so we get the most value for the time we invest, but there’s no particular road we won’t patrol.

“Any road in Bolton you might see extra police targeting people who are using them poorly.”

Just minutes after officers set up their operation, drivers were already being warned of the operation by map app Waze.

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The app, which is owned by Google, uses user-submitted reports to warn drivers of a police presence.

The Bolton News: Within minutes, drivers had submitted the police presence on the Waze navigation appWithin minutes, drivers had submitted the police presence on the Waze navigation app (Image: Waze/Google)

However, Inspector Bonson said the operation was still worth it, with drivers slowing down due to the warnings, making the road safer.

He added: “The risks to driving badly, whether drink-driving or speeding, are there. You can lose your licence, you can get points on your licence, your insurance can go up, or you pay a fine.

“People have felt that the risk s worth taking because they didn’t get caught. What do you get for speeding a few miles? An extra minute in bed.

“Now, doing these high visibility operations, it’s not worth the risk. The likelihood is, you would be caught.”

The Bolton News: Nobody was pulled over in the operationNobody was pulled over in the operation (Image: Jack Fifield, Newsquest)

One officer working on the operation was Astley Bridge’s PC Daly.

He said: “It’s always on your mind because most people drive, and it impacts everyone day-to-day.

“Bolton, in the last year or so, has been one of the busiest divisions across GMP for fatal crashes.

“I think that sticks in peoples’ minds.

The Bolton News: PC Daly said speeding was often the first thing residents mentioned to himPC Daly said speeding was often the first thing residents mentioned to him (Image: Jack Fifield, Newsquest)

“When I speak to residents, one of the first things that comes out of their mouths is speeding, especially in residential areas. Routes that come through and there’s houses either side, near schools, things like that.

“Anything that’s putting people at risk should be a priority. The speed limits are there for a reason, speed limits get put there because it’s appropriate to drive that speed on the road.

“If you’re exceeding that limit then you’re putting yourself at risk and you’re putting other people at risk.”

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