I must admit that I felt a little daunted before my first police outing with TER. I had been told to meet Glynne Morgan, one of our plant specialists, and follow him to the police site which was 136 miles away from my house. I had never driven on the motorway and as I started up my twelve year old car, I wondered whether I would ever make it to my destination. Judging by the fact that you are reading this article, we can safely assume that I survived; despite my engine light turning on half way through the journey. I had overcome my first hurdle.
Our job for the day was to help check plant which was being pulled over by the police. Glynne told me to pay particular attention to curtain-sided trailers as they frequently contain plant and you can sometimes decipher the outline of a wheel against the curtain. Although we didn't find anything concealed in such a way during the day, I will definitely pay more attention to such vehicles on the road.
We inspected many machines which proved to be a fantastic learning experience as I was able to pick up where indentifying numbers would be on different items. Glynne would find the serial numbers and then input them into a mobile friendly version of the TER database. If we noticed any discrepancies, we gave the office a call to make further enquiries. Many of the items we checked were trailers, which is useful when you have over 13,000 trailers registered as stolen on your database! Seeing the scale of the equipment really brought the job to life for me – growing up in London, I had never seen many of the machines we deal with on a daily basis!
The police officers on the operation were extremely friendly and immediately put me at ease. As I drove across the Severn Bridge and back into England at the end of the day, I already couldn't wait for the next time I was sent on a TER mission.