Police watching from double-decker buses could catch you using your mobile phone while driving

DRIVERS using their mobile phones while behind the wheel could be caught out by police watching from above.

New surveillance operations are being put in place to clamp down on the number of distracted drivers, following a decline in prosecution rates for mobile phone use.

West Yorkshire Police is putting officers on double-decker buses to look down at road users and catch those on their phones.

Its officers then pass on driver details to traffic officers in patrol vehicles, who pull over offenders and issue a fine.

But there are sometimes so many motorists seen offending at the same time cops are unable to catch them all.

Russell Miller, a PCSO with West Yorkshire Police, said: “There was a point when we spotted one (offender) and started to pass on those details.

Then literally out of the next 10 or 12 vehicles, about 70 per cent were using their mobile phone and we can’t pass those details on and record them quick enough.”

A cut in the number of traffic police officers has led to a significant drop in people being prosecuted for driving while using a mobile phone, the RAC told the BBC.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice showed the number of drivers convicted of the offence almost halved to just under 12,000 between 2012 and 2016.

According to the BBC Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire current affairs programme, officers put on double-deckers to catch drivers using their phone at the wheel have sometimes seen so many offenders they cannot record their details quickly enough.

A Freedom of Information request by the Press Association in 2017 found that in the 10 years from 2007, the number of traffic officers in England and Wales fell by almost a third from 3,766 to 2,643.