Police to teach neighbours to use speed traps

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    From The Telegraph.

    “Thousands of volunteers are to be trained to carry out speed checks in an attempt to force motorists to slow down.

    Community Speed Watch will involve police training the public how to handle radar equipment which monitors cars’ speed.

    Built on the principles of crime-fighting Neighbourhood Watch schemes, the aim is to force drivers to slow down as they travel through residential areas where the local community has identified a problem.

    Projects are already running in villages across the country. In Avon and Somerset there are 25 villages participating in projects. Scores of others across the country want to follow suit and the Department for Transport is considering whether projects could be used in towns as well.

    The proposals are contained in a study prepared for the DfT which calls for additional steps to bolster the existing speed camera programme.

    Existing speed watch schemes need a minimum of six volunteers. They are given training on health and safety as well as how to use the equipment. All must devote at least an hour a week to the scheme. At least one volunteer in a group should have a mobile phone.

    Volunteers are given yellow fluorescent jackets and are deployed at locations agreed by the police They note the number of a speeding car and pass it on to the police.

    In the case of a first transgression, police send a polite but firm letter advising the keeper of the car to slow down. Should the same car be caught again, a more “robust” letter is sent. A third incident will normally result in the police going to the site with their own speed gun with the purpose of catching and prosecuting the errant driver. They may also visit the offender.

    Volunteers are told they should not hide their speed detecting equipment and at least two people should take part at any given time.

    Brake, a road safety campaign group, said: “We should not be in a situation where local people should have to enforce the law on our roads. We should have comprehensive measures in place, funded by the Government to do this.”

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