Speedwatch volunteers hit streets

A Sutton Coldfield volunteer is helping to keep people safe after setting up a Speedwatch inches area.

David Homer has helped set up the Vesey Speedwatch.

People across the West Midlands have been picking up speed guns and taking to the streets alongside our officers as part of UN Global Road Safety Week.

These fantastic volunteers are part of a growing network of Speedwatch groups, set up by local community members to monitor the speed of vehicles passing through their area. 

With lockdown restrictions easing, our roads are getting busier and we’re keen for more people to get involved and communities to form groups.

David said: “About four or five of us started the group as there was not an existing Speedwatch group in the ward. It’s up to individuals and groups of neighbours to set it up with the support of their local PCSO. 

“There’s a very simple vetting process and then you’re signed up on the insurance policy and it’s just a matter of pressing the button on the speed gun while another volunteer or officer notes the car’s details (speed, make, model etc).

“Most people respect the limit, but for those who floor it, the only thing that will stop them is the fear of being caught. We hope that by being visible it makes speeders think twice.”

David said the primary aim of the group is to keep the community safe and make the area a better place to live, adding that the Vesey Speedwatch has already received a lot of praise from passers-by. 

He added: “We get people stop by when we’re doing the patrols and when we explain about the community Speedwatch, the feedback is always positive and people who speak to us are very appreciative. 

“When you’re on a street and people drive at excessive speed, it makes it a very worrying place to be walking around or cycling. Speeders deter people from wanting to use the streets and crossing roads, especially vulnerable residents and older people who don’t move so fast.

“We’ve been able to identify speeding hotspots through the scheme and it helps us to control the problem locally.”

David said as well as keeping his community safe, the volunteer role ensures speeders don’t get away with breaking the law.

“There’s a great satisfaction knowing they’re going to get warning letters. There’s even more satisfaction when you get people driving slower – 30mph is a limit, it’s not a target. 

“People do tend to stick to speed limits if they know they’re being watched. The more of us that do it, the more Speedwatch patrols there are, then the bigger the effect.

“We could do with more support and more people doing similar things in different places.”

If you would like to get involved or become a Speedwatch volunteer in your neighbourhood, then contact your local policing team by clicking here

“You only need to spare an hour or so a month,” adds David, who acknowledges a lot of people have work commitments, children and so on. 

“There is support on the street for it – people are enthusiastic and want to make a difference, but we do have constraints and would need more people to get involved.

“It’s really easy to sign up, it’s just a question of committing a bit of time. If you care about your community and you’ve got some time, get involved. If you don’t do it, nobody else will.”

A PCSO, special constable or police officer has to be present when a Community Speedwatch group is out conducting checks for their safety. Any vehicles spotted speeding are referred to us and the driver receives a warning letter. Follow up action is taken in the case of repeat offences.

Sergeant Jon Butler, who leads our Road Harm Prevention Team, said: “Speeding continues to be a concern for many communities and we are very grateful to all the volunteers who use their own time to help make our roads safer for everyone. 

“To ensure the full safety of community Speedwatch members, a full risk assessment is carried out for each group and volunteers receive appropriate training. 

“We are keen to grow the number of community Speedwatch groups and to do everything we can to support them to check speeds in their local communities.”

For more information on speeding and your options, please click here.

Find out more about the Active Citizens Fund

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