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Police / Police respond to claims convoy escort officers have been ‘aggressive’ to drivers

Photo: Jim Mullay

POLICE have responded to claims specialist officers escorting convoys of Viking Energy wind farm turbine parts have been “aggressive” when ordering motorists to move to allow the large vehicles to pass.

The topic was raised at a meeting of the Viking Community Liaison Group on Tuesday evening – with one person writing in to say they had been frightened by the police’s actions and nearly had an accident.

The same person then claimed someone had actually had an accident because of the police’s behaviour.

Chairman Andrew Archer said he had heard similar concerns from other people too.

Chief Inspector Andy Barclay, who is the road policing area commander for the north area, said in a statement in response: “In order to maintain the safety of all road users, we are supporting the movement of wide load escorts in Shetland.

“Specialist road policing officers have been deployed to facilitate these movements and help minimise disruption to the community. 

“They are present to ensure the safety of the driver, escort vehicle, load, members of the public and vulnerable road users.”

He did not respond directly the allegations made, but added: “The overarching aim is to maximise road safety and there may be occasions where the officers need to direct and warn other road users of the presence of the wide load. 

“We will continue to liaise with the local community to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum.”

Large convoys between Lerwick and the wind farm site in the Central Mainland have been taking place since February, with three trips per day Monday to Saturday.

Specialist road traffic police have been drafted into help escort the large lorries, with motorists asked to move to the side of the road when the convoy passes.

SSE Renewables’ stakeholder manager Aaron Priest said it was up to Police Scotland how they run the convoys. “They are the experts in that job,” he said.

Priest added: “I think most people have become very used to the process.”

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