New community watch scheme set to launch in Milton Keynes stopping speeding neighbours
This new scheme relies on volunteers measuring the speeds their neighbours drive at, using official police gear.
When lockdown restrictions are lifted, a joint-venture between the Thames Valley Police and not-for-profit organisation, Community Speedwatch, will begin.
Current speedwatch schemes organised prior to lockdown will continue, but there will also be a new project trialled in certain Thames Valley areas, including Bucks.
A pilot scheme will be launched to trial a new system, supporting and training volunteers. As well as capturing the data for community speedwatch in order to better analyse data for potential police activity.
Volunteers in these speedwatch groups will be granted access to speed detection equipment and devices to catch lawbreakers.
Beginning with one pilot in Buckinghamshire, the scheme is then expected to be trialled in other locations across Oxfordshire and Berkshire over a six-month period and, if successful, will become the model for all community speedwatch schemes in the Thames Valley.
Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “I’m really excited about this new scheme and the additional support that we can provide to volunteers. Cutting speeding across Thames Valley can save lives and a strong community-led speedwatch scheme can make a real difference.
“Not only will the new scheme provide better backing for volunteers, comprehensive training, and new equipment, but it will also feed information directly into the police. Persistent offenders and hotspot locations can then be followed up for police enforcement. Together we can make our streets safer.”
Volunteers must undergo a number of training sessions, both online and at roadside, to ensure risk assessments have been completed and protocols have been adhered to, before they can start reporting speedsters.
The online portal the volunteer group use to make reports will be self-regulated via an online calendar and also provides vehicle make recognition training. DVLA pre-checks logged registration numbers for authenticity before automatically passing data on to the police for further processing.
PC Lee Turnham, Thames Valley Police Community Speedwatch Co-ordinator, added: “Speedwatch has proven in the past to be a deterrent. People drive slower through areas as a result of community speed watch initiatives. The new platform will hopefully provide a community-led approach to reducing excess speed, allowing activity to be community driven."
Jan Jung from Community Speedwatch UK outlined why this scheme is especially important in the Thames Valley Area, saying: “The road network across the three counties consists predominantly of narrow rural roads where way too many vehicles speed dangerously through villages without concern for the residents’ safety or well-being.
“We appreciate that the police cannot be everywhere all the time, but the public can. And that is exactly where the strength of well-organised Community Speedwatch steps in to play a vital role.