Civilians join battle against speeding drivers

WATCHFUL volunteers are being given the power to catch speeding motorists on Suffolk's roads.

Tom Potter

WATCHFUL volunteers are being given the power to catch speeding motorists on Suffolk's roads.

The county's Community Speed Watch initiative aims to cut the number of drivers exceeding the limit by training civilians to use speed detection equipment.

Residents of Woodbridge and Kesgrave can this month sign up to rid their towns of lawbreaking road users and Suffolk Police hope every local parish will in time be equipped to join the scheme.

Speed Watch was first trailed in the region earlier this year and now boasts four active teams run by seventy nine volunteers.

Volunteers work in pairs to verify and record the registration numbers of speeding vehicles and pass on the details to the police. A letter is then sent to the registered owner, who can receive a maximum of two letters before their details are be passed to a roads policing officer, which could lead to prosecution.

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Woodbridge and Kesgrave already have more than 20 eager volunteers trained to use the speed detection equipment and monitor traffic with support from their local safer neighbourhood team (SNT).

Next month will see the scheme pushed further into Mid Suffolk, as Woodbridge and District Sergeant Peter Haig explained. “We're very happy that more parishes across the county such as Clopton and Debach are getting involved in setting up their own schemes,” he said.

“I admire the parishes that are signing up to the initiative. It is very public spirited.”

Guy McGregor, chair of Suffolk Roadsafe, added: “I know from my many visits to town and parish council meeting through Suffolk that the menace of speeding traffic is high on the list of people's concerns. This is part of the efforts of all partners to bring about a culture of more responsible driving.”

Each parish will have access to a home office approved 'speedar' for half a week at a time and, depending on the number of volunteers in an area, could be seen on the roads between one and two hours a day.

Everyone trained by SNT officers is subject to vetting checks and Suffolk Police stress the scheme's aim is not to catch as many speeders as possible but to reduce speeds in areas of concern.

Recording of vehicle details will be restricted to those travelling at 36mph or more in a 30mph limit and volunteers must not attempt to conceal their speed monitoring activities from passing motorists.

Before each speed check signs will be positioned approximately 30 metres - unless agreed otherwise by police - at either end of the site facing on coming traffic.

Anyone interested in volunteering or setting up a Community Speed Watch scheme can contact their local SNT for more information on 01473 613500.