COMMUNITY SPEEDWATCH IN PEASENHALL AND SIBTON
Numerous concerns have been raised by local residents over the extent of motorists driving well in excess of the speed limit of 30 mph through Peasenhall and Sibton. If this is not addressed as a matter of urgency then there is a real risk of serious accident and material injury.
Community Speedwatch (CSW) schemes have been shown to have an impact on driver behaviour and reductions in the speed of vehicles.
What is CSW and how does it work?
CSW is a national initiative where members of local communities, with the support of the police, actively become involved in road safety at safe locations with the benefit of speed detection equipment.
Vehicles exceeding the 30 mph speed limits are recorded by means of a radar speed gun, not with the view of catching as many motorists as possible, but with the aim of educating drivers to consistently reduce their speed and to understand that excessive speed is socially unacceptable.
In cases where education is blatantly ignored and there is evidence of repeat or excessive offences then police enforcement and prosecution may follow. Volunteers have no power to take actions themselves. Any action will be via the police.
The legwork is undertaken by members of the community aged 18 or over. Volunteers receive appropriate training and support from the police. The necessary equipment including the speed gun, warning signs, hi-viz jackets and paperwork are provided by Peasenhall Parish Council. We currently have around 9 volunteers and reinforcements are always welcome.
The scheme is flexible. Volunteers can participate as much or as little as they wish but would be looking at an input of about one hour per month after the initial training.
The nominated monitoring site will not be close to a junction and will ideally have a clear site line of 100 metres. The site will also be positioned sufficiently within the speed limit zone so as not to catch out drivers who are braking.
A survey sheet will be provided for a team of 3 volunteers at each occasion of monitoring to record the speed of the vehicle as well as other details such as the registration number, colour, make and model to ensure correct identification of the vehicle concerned.
The details are then provided to the police who will send an initial letter, followed by a second letter, should the speedster re-offend. Persistent offenders may be subject to police enforcement. There are similar schemes within other parishes throughout the county where an existing offender can be recorded driving in excess of the speed limit again. This would count as an additional offence where the same criteria applies.
Volunteers will be covered by Suffolk Constabulary's insurance although please note that there are limitations to the amount of cover. Volunteers may not be covered should they fail to comply with the Constabulary's Safety Code Of Conduct e.g. volunteers must not stand in the road and the speed gun must not be aimed at people. For further information please see the Suffolk Constabulary – Community Speed Watch Scheme Briefing Pack – November 2013 v3. Insurance cover for volunteers will also be provided via Peasenhall Parish Council.
Volunteers will be required to complete an application form to become a team member as well as signing up to a CSW agreement.
Although volunteers may be subject to verbal abuse by complaining motorists this is generally friendly banter and many motorists are actually appreciative of the scheme. A letter from the police is available to motorists which explains the nature of the scheme and is designed to allay any concerns. However, although there is no known record of violent conduct, in the event of an emergency there is urgent back up and support from the police.
Ric Earle (01728 660891 or firstname.lastname@example.org) is the co-ordinator of the scheme. Please contact Ric should you wish to volunteer or require further information regarding the scheme.