Special Highways Agency "jambuster" traffic officers were introduced today on Britain's busiest motorway.

Already in action on motorways in the West Midlands, the new uniformed officers will now start patrolling western and southern sections of the M25. With powers to take whatever steps are necessary to get traffic moving, the officers also began working on the M3 in Surrey and on the M23 in Sussex today.

The patrols work in close co-operation with the police and roadside assistance and recovery organisations.

Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman said: "We are investing billions of pounds to improve this country's road network. Minimising the congestion caused by accidents and managing traffic flow efficiently is vital if we are to ensure that traffic runs smoothly for both travellers and businesses.

"The new traffic officers will improve services to motorists - making journeys more reliable."

The new service will eventually comprise around 1,500 traffic officers, some on the road and some in control rooms - and seven regional control centres across England.

A phased introduction will see traffic officers on motorways in the North-west and North-east in September, in the East in October and the South-west in December.