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Former Norfolk police officer takes the wheel at road safety technology firm

PUBLISHED: 13:38 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:39 31 July 2018

Phil Hayton and Chris Spinks of Dereham-based traffic safety firm Westcotec. Picture: Olly Samways

Phil Hayton and Chris Spinks of Dereham-based traffic safety firm Westcotec. Picture: Olly Samways

Olly Samways

A former roads policing officer has taken the wheel at a Dereham-based traffic safety firm – part of a management change which will also give ownership of the company to its 25 employees.

Westcotec, which specialises in road safety technologies and vehicle-activated signs, was founded in 2001 by Phil Hayton, who is stepping down as managing director.

He will hand his day-to-day responsibilities to a senior team led by new managing director Chris Spinks, a former police chief inspector who led the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit until his retirement in 2015.

As part of the handover, Mr Hayton has created an employee ownership trust designed to “reward team members for their loyalty and to safeguard their future”.

He will take up a temporary position as company chairman to assist with the handover period, after which he will become a trustee of the new trust.

He said the move comes at an exciting time for the technology firm, which has grown to a turnover approaching £3m.

Mr Hayton said: “The company has continued to grow, but I believe we have retained the core values that guided me at the start: that our work could help save lives, and that we must constantly seek to innovate and improve.

“I have no doubt that Chris and the team will retain those values as they drive the business forward in the years to come.”

Mr Spinks, who has been part of the Westcotec sales team for the past two and a half years, said he was looking forward to taking on the challenge of tackling dangerous driving from a new perspective.

“I had a fantastic 30 years in the police force, and when I joined Westcotec it was not with the intention of moving into management,” he said. “But I am passionate about road safety and I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity, where we can play our part to reduce the unacceptably high level of death and serious injury on roads across the world.”

Last month, Westcotec unveiled a cutting-edge new system which lights up a roadside warning sign when it detects a motorist using a mobile phone behind the wheel. It was developed in partnership with Norfolk County Council’s road safety team, and its deployment in Norfolk was the first of its kind in the country.

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