Local Community Speed Watch groups across West Mercia were out in force on Friday (30th September) to raise awareness of the scheme and carry out speed enforcement activity in a bid to make their areas safer. West Mercia’s Police & Crime Commissioner John Campion and Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner Tracey Onslow also showed their support for the scheme by visiting local groups in Crowle and Eckington in Worcestershire and Eardisley in Herefordshire.
The Community Speed Watch Action Day took place on Friday to promote the scheme, raise awareness of how it operates and give the public the chance to see local groups in action, carrying out speed enforcement work.
Community Speed Watch is a community-driven road safety initiative 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 scheme is supported by the Safer Roads Partnership team within Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, but is managed and run by volunteers in the community. West Mercia’s Community Speed Watch scheme was launched in May 2014 and now has 13 active groups across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.
Community Speed Watch involves 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. Local groups coordinate their own enforcement schedule, around personal commitments, and carry out enforcement activity once or twice a week on average.
John Campion, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, visited local groups in Crowle and Eckington while Tracey Onslow, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner visited Eardisley in Herefordshire.
John Campion commented: “I want to empower people within our communities to play a more active role in identifying and also tackling local issues. Speeding is an issue that is often highlighted in our towns and villages and where people want to take the lead in addressing these issues, then I want them to help them.
“Active citizenship can have a major role in creating safer, stronger communities. I pledged to give people the tools they need in order to make a difference and I am delivering on that promise.”
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.
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.