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Local policewomen receive commendations

By SPP Reporter

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PC Joanna Copsey (second left) receives the awards on behalf of Angie and herself
PC Joanna Copsey (second left) receives the awards on behalf of Angie and herself

TWO North Division officers have been recognised at the national Scottish Policing Awards for their partnership work on the Driving Ambition programme in Caithness, Sutherland and East Ross.

PCs Angie Grant-Omotosho (Dornoch-based) and Joanna Copsey (Thurso-based) received commended certificates from Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill at the Scottish Police College this week, for their part in successfully delivering the young driver initiative.

Driving Ambition was originally created by the Highland Road Safety Working Group back in 1997 and has further developed over the years.

Angie and Joanna have committed a vast amount of time and effort into this important and worthwhile project, which aims to reduce the number of young drivers killed or seriously injured on the roads.

The programme, which continues to be delivered to every fifth and sixth year pupil in Caithness and Sutherland, focuses on enforcement, car modification and vehicle seizure

Angie said: “This initiative has been very successful in Caithness, Sutherland and East Ross in educating young road users about the responsibilities they have whilst learning to drive and becoming a new driver.”

Police provide inputs to young drivers with regards to enforcement, car modification and vehicle seizure.

Highland and Islands Fire and Rescue Service speak to youngsters about their role at the scene of a road traffic collision and the Red Cross give an input on first aid at the scene.

Local mechanics take a look “under the bonnet”, the seatbelt convincer (full size simulator) highlights the impact of a low speed collision and the important role the seatbelt plays and the Highland Council provides an interactive road safety set, which includes hazard perception.

East Sutherland and Edderton councillor, Deirdre Mackay (Brora), who has been involved in the programme since its inception, said: “I have been working closely with colleagues in the emergency services and education to develop ways to reduce avoidable accidents and help our young drivers drive more safely.

“Over the past three years Driving Ambition has gone from strength to strength with every 6th year pupil in Caithness, Sutherland and Tain taking part. This is good but we are conscious that there are many more young drivers who miss out because they leave school to work or go on to further education and we are looking at how we can offer DA to them also.

“A total of 120 students at NHC Thurso took part in a successful pilot last month. Big employers such as Dounreay and Vulcan have also successfully participated.

“Sutherland is different because we have greater numbers of small employers, one man and an apprentice, and it is not so easy to release the one member of staff. We intend to speak with employers to see if there is a way this could be done.

NHC Dornoch has a critical mass of students so it is important that we look to deliver.”

She added: “Over the past year I have been in contact with a range of lobbying and pressure groups which have set themselves up as a natural consequence of the loss of, or avoidable injury to, a young person. There is enormous energy and drive out there which people want to put to good use.”

In the past three years the partnership has ensured that over 1000 pupils have gone through the Driving Ambition programme, either through schools or the North Highland College.

The Highland Road Safety Working Group continues to expand the Driving Ambition programme and it will continue to be delivered across the Force throughout 2012.

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