ONE of the main challenges for us in the last few weeks has been the additional traffic into East Lothian, and in particular Humbie, owing to the closure of the A68.

Due to a severe weather incident on August 12, significant and substantial damage was done to the A68 which caused drivers to divert through the village.

This has understandably caused considerable angst amongst residents due to large and heavy vehicles passing through roads that were not built for their size or weight and the increased volume.

This concern has not gone unnoticed and I have had daily communication with various partners, elected members and residents.

We have worked very closely with East Lothian Council to mitigate this problem and speed reducing measures have been implemented. Police officers have been out every day patrolling the road and we are all doing our best to keep the area as safe as possible, particularly at school times.

The council and its roads team have done a fantastic job in very challenging circumstances to engage with drivers and implement the measures. I am aware that the work to repair the A68 is going well and hope that these challenges will be resolved very soon.

On the theme of road safety, we are committed to making our county’s roads safer. Residents and community councils continually tell us that road safety and speeding are issues of concern for them and that is why reducing road casualties and fatalities remains one of our top policing priorities. Indeed, the largest amount of complaints that I receive relate to speeding. Most of these are from residents and some are directed to me from community councils and elected members looking for action.

Over the past six months, I have focused a lot of attention on road and speed checks and a lot of this was down to the additional traffic brought by people visiting our beautiful beaches and parks.

Improving road safety is one of my five priorities as set out in our Policing Plan 2020-2023 and I am committed to this. We post some of our activity on our social media channels and it is always interesting to read people’s views.

Some of the comments relate to my officers standing in bright yellow jackets, overtly deterring and enforcing the speed limits. They question why we do it so overtly.

Contrary to some of the comments, officers will never hide in the bushes, wear camouflage or somehow go incognito to catch motorists speeding.

Officers do not get any financial incentive from detecting a person speeding, as one comment on social media alluded to. We will always look to prevent speeding by taking a highly visible, easily seen approach and take the appropriate action where necessary.

The figures for the first quarter of the year show a reduction of 66 per cent in road casualties in East Lothian compared to last year.

I will continue to focus on road safety and my local officers, supported by national divisions, not to mention our pop-up cops, will continue to be highly visible, carry out road and speed checks, and keep everyone as safe as possible.