Ex-Met policeman improving Chalkwell’s drivers
Sittingbourne based Chalkwell Coaches has appointed former Metropolitan Police traffic officer, Alasdair Thain, as a driving assessor. Since his appointment, the company claims there has been an improvement in driving standards. It has noticed fewer incidents, reduced maintenance costs due to greater driver awareness and a better level of candidate applying for positions. His role is to take drivers out and give them an hour long assessment on different types of roads. Following his retirement after 31 years in the police force, Alisdair worked for Kent County Council, assessing its drivers and training them to HGV and PCV standard. While he was at the council, he met Andy Bates, now Chalkwell’s Operations Manager. The two of them put together a plan to solve accident problems involving public service vehicles and minibuses. After working for the council, Alisdair decided to retire for a second time, but was persuaded by Chalkwell to work for them on a part time basis.
Alasdair said, ‘Although a candidate may already hold a PCV licence it doesn’t necessarily mean they will meet Chalkwell’s standards. Feedback I am getting from prospective employees and drivers is this is something they haven’t come across before. As a former Kent County Council HGV and PCV instructor I am looking at Chalkwell’s drivers as an examiner rather than a supervisor in the industry. Everyone will have their driving assessed once a year. If there is anything I am not happy about I will offer advice and assess drivers in three months or six months to ensure they are improving. Coupled with that, if anyone has an accident which is blameworthy and are culpable they will come out for a bus accident assessment. That involves going back to the scene of the accident, talking through what happened and forming an opinion on how the problem may have occurred, working on the problem for half an hour before, provided they take everything on board, seeing them again in six months. Hopefully, I shall then see that whatever the problem was has been corrected. I shall also carry out end of probation driver test assessments.’