The Role of a Traffic Officer

Traffic Officers play a vital role in keeping the roads safe. They serve by dealing with general road and traffic tasks. While this might not seem important, this means that the police can get on with cases which require their specialised skillset. This is the general role of a Traffic Officer.

Traffic Officer – What Are Traffic Officers?

Traffic Officers are employed individuals who conduct general operations on roads throughout England and Wales. While they aren’t strictly members of the police force, they fulfil a number of tasks that police would usually do, taking some of the pressure off them so that they can focus on prevention and solving of crimes.

As previously mentioned, Traffic Officers in the UK are not police officers. Instead, they are civilians who serve to keep the roads safer. This means that you can become a Traffic Officer without joining the police force.

The Role of a Traffic Officer – What Do Traffic Officers Do?

Traffic Officers perform a lot of duties on roads in England that would previously be carried out by police. This includes closing roads, stopping traffic, authorising relaxations of highway regulations and managing traffic. They perform an absolutely vital role here – the roads are a better place with them.

Traffic Officers tend to patrol in pairs, and drive high-visibility 4×4 patrol vehicles. This means that, if necessary, Traffic Officers can tow broken-down and abandoned vehicles to clear obstruction.

Traffic Officers also work closely with incident support units (ISUs). These are units which carry more equipment than Traffic Officers, allowing for better response to incidents. Part of a Traffic Officer’s job is to be able to work both with ISUs and police officers to make sure that the road is safer.

The Role of a Traffic Officer – What Powers Do Traffic Officers Have?

While the police are called out to do with crime on the road, and collisions, Traffic Officers have the power to do the following:

• Close roads;
• Stop traffic;
• Place traffic signs and use them;
• Manage traffic at places where traffic surveys are taking place;
• Remove or arrange for the removal of vehicles that are causing an obstruction on the road, such as abandoned or broken-down vehicles;
• Authorise specific exceptions and relaxations of motorway regulations. For example, Traffic Officers can authorise use of the hard shoulder in order to alleviate more severe traffic.

On top of this, Traffic Officers have the power to do the following as of the Traffic Management Act 2004:
• Direct a driver of a vehicle to stop;
• Direct pedestrians to stop;
• Place temporary signs and cones on the road.

The Role of a Traffic Officer – Conclusion

So, now you have an idea of what Traffic Officers are and what role they perform in keeping roads in England and Wales safe. If you would like to find out about becoming a Traffic Officer, you can click here to read more.