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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

'Delivering a death message stays with you forever', says Roads Policing Inspector

Delivering a death message is the hardest part of the job for Roads Policing Acting Inspector Will Ayres.

But it was one particular death message that has stayed with Will throughout his policing career.

“It was new years eve, and a family had all gathered to celebrate the new year,” recalls Will.

“Their daughter was due to finish work and the family were all having a takeaway at home together to see in the new year. As I knocked on the door to inform them that their daughter was not coming home, I heard someone from inside shout ‘the food’s here’. Sadly, this wasn’t the case and what should have been a happy occasion quickly became their worst nightmare.

“Walking up to the front door, you know you are about to change lives forever. When that door opens and the family see a police officer, you can instantly see the colour drain from their faces and they know something bad has happened.”

After three and a half years of service as a police officer, Will moved to the Roads Policing Unit. He’d always had a keen interest in roads policing and a passion for road safety having attended a fatality early in his career.

“I saw the devastation it caused to a family and from then on, I knew road safety was an area of policing I was passionate about,” he said.

Seven years into his roads policing career, Will is now Acting inspector, but the first fatality he ever dealt with remains with him until this day.

He said: “A father and daughter were killed on a road in the south of the county having been out for the day making plans for her upcoming wedding. Knowing their day was full of happy thoughts and hopes for the future to then so suddenly and tragically be over was particularly poignant and will always remain with me.”

As part of our Road Safety Awareness Campaign following a spike in serious injury and fatal collisions, Will is raising awareness of the fatal five offences, which are statistically proven to contribute to death and serious injury on the roads. The fatal five are drink and drug driving, careless and dangerous driving, distraction such as mobile phones, inappropriate excess speed and failing to wear a seatbelt.

“Our roads policing unit is committed to keeping the roads of Wiltshire safe, offering a 24/7 capability to our colleagues on the community policing teams, and targeting those motorists most likely to cause harm," said Will.

“It’s frustrating to hear motorists suggest we don’t have anything better to do, or excuses such as ‘I was just checking a text message’. They have no idea how close they potentially are to being involved in a serious collision as a result of their own actions.

“It’s also incredibly frustrating when members of the public approach road closures at the scenes of fatal collisions, often disgruntled that their journey is going to be extended, or they may be late.

“If only they knew what we were dealing with.’’

“If only they realised how lucky they were to actually be getting home and finishing their journey.”

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