Community Speed Watch launched across West Mercia following successful pilot scheme
News from our partners Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia and Warwickshire
Following a successful pilot scheme in Crowle in Worcestershire, a new community-driven road safety initiative has been launched across West Mercia which gives local residents the opportunity to address community concern about traffic speed, and play an active role in improving the safety of their local community.
The new scheme, called Community Speed Watch, is being supported by the Safer Roads Partnership team within West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police, but will be managed and run by volunteers in the community. While the scheme is already well established within Warwickshire, West Mercia’s very first Community Speed Watch scheme in Crowle has been in operation since May 2014, and a number of additional sites will be launching across West Mercia and Warwickshire over the coming months.
Community Speed Watch schemes involve trained volunteers from the community monitoring the speeds of vehicles with approved, hand-held speed measurement devices. Where vehicle speeds are found to be inappropriate, a letter is sent to the registered keeper by the police with the aim of encouraging them to reduce their speed when driving in the future.
Rod Reynolds, Safer Roads Partnership Manager, said:
“The Safer Roads Partnership is very pleased to announce the launch of the Community Speed Watch scheme. Excessive or inappropriate speed affects the quality of life for many communities across West Mercia and Warwickshire. Enabling local communities to take an active role in addressing concerns about speeding traffic allows us to be more responsive to the needs of local communities and will enhance our road safety and casualty reduction strategy.”
Ian Connolly, Community Speed Watch Co-ordinator for the partnership, said:
“We’re very pleased with the results so far from the pilot scheme in Crowle. The local volunteers there have already carried out a number of speed monitoring sessions and warning letters have been sent out to motorists who were exceeding the speed limit.
“The aim of the scheme is not to catch as many speeding drivers as possible, but to encourage them to drive within the speed limit. Feedback from group members suggests that motorists visibly slow down when they see the volunteers by the roadside in high-visibility jackets, which is a positive effect in itself. We hope these results are replicated in future schemes across West Mercia, and we continue to see a positive change in driver behaviour and compliance with the speed limit.”
A Community Speed Watch scheme is initiated when ‘speeding traffic’ has been identified as a community road safety concern by a parish council, safer neighbourhood team or community forum. However, a number of criteria must be met before a scheme can be established:
- The area must have a 30mph or 40mph speed restriction
- Speed data collected by the Safer Roads Partnership must show that speed levels in the area do not meet the national industry requirements for police enforcement
- No other enforcement activity is currently in place
- There must be at least six volunteers in each Community Speed Watch scheme
- Speed checks must be conducted by at least three volunteers at any one time.
Community Speed Watch schemes will be evaluated to ensure they are having a positive impact on vehicle speed, driver behaviour and community reassurance. There is a maximum capacity of 10 schemes within West Mercia at any one time.
Local residents who are worried about speeding traffic should raise their concerns with their local parish council, safer neighbourhood team or community forum, who will then bring it to the attention of the Safer Roads Partnership. Speed data can then be collected to determine the nature of the problem and action will be taken accordingly.
The Safer Roads Partnership is part of West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police, and works in partnership with the four local highway authorities in West Mercia (Shropshire Council, Herefordshire Council, Telford & Wrekin Council and Worcestershire County Council); Warwickshire County Council, the Highways Agency; HM Courts Service – West Mercia; Fire & Rescue Services for Hereford & Worcester, Shropshire and Warwickshire; and West Mercia Cluster of Primary Care Trusts.
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