A SENIOR police officer has apologised after tweeting that an operation to catch dangerous drivers had been cancelled for health and safety reasons.

In a now deleted tweet, Superintendent Steph Brighton told cycling campaigners, Bike Worcester, that Operation Close Pass – where police officers on bicycles log data on drivers who pass too closely – would not go ahead.

She tweeted: “Regrettably, Operation Close Pass will not be taking place. Officer safety is my priority and a health and safety assessment by a specialist who has spoken to other forces has determined the risk is too great. I cannot put deliberately put officers at risk.”

However, West Mercia Police backtracked after they were asked whether the city’s streets were therefore ‘too dangerous’ for cyclists.

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Deputy chief constable Julian Moss said: “We’d like to apologise for any confusion around our participation in Operation Close Pass.

“Whilst we always take into consideration health and safety matters we can confirm that we will be taking part. We will keep our communities up to date with our Operation Close Pass activities.”

Supt. Brighton, who is South Worcestershire policing commander, later said: “I have removed an earlier Tweet that incorrectly stated that South Worcestershire officers would not be taking part in Op Close Pass.

“This was simply a breakdown in communications and I’m sorry. We will be taking part.”

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Danny Brothwell from Bike Worcester, said he was pleased to see the operation was to go ahead, saying: “The roads in Worcester are not too dangerous for cycling, as many Bike Worcester members and others choosing to travel by bike who regularly use the roads will testify.

“I was surprised the police made that statement, but also very pleased they’ve reconsidered. Could the roads be safer? Absolutely.

“Whilst the majority of drivers are aware of their responsibilities, there remain many who either need more education regarding interaction with other road users, or who deliberately flout the Highway Code.

“Other UK police forces are successfully improving driving standards with close pass operations, and it’s brilliant to see West Mercia following suit with evidence based policing.”