A summit meeting organised by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe has heard that Community Speed Watch schemes continue to play a vital part in reducing road casualties in the county.
The event, held earlier this month, brought together representatives from schemes operating across the county with police and officials from the Warwickshire and West Mercia Road Safety Partnership. The aim was to allow all concerned to air their views on how speed watch schemes are currently operating and how communications between all agencies can be improved in future.
Community Speed Watch is a locally-led initiative where members of the community join together with the support of the police to monitor the speed of vehicles using speed detection devices. Vehicles exceeding the speed limit are referred to the police with the aim of educating motorists to reduce their speeds.
Volunteers receive appropriate training and are supported by their local Safer Neighbourhood Team. The scheme aims to cater for both the problems of real or perceived speed-related offending in communities across the county.
Speaking after the meeting, Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “I know from the correspondence I regularly receive from the public that speeding is a topic that causes considerable concern and is one that communities are keen to come together to address. Community Speed Watch schemes can make a valuable contribution to this through encouraging safer and more responsible driving, so I was keen to bring all parties involved together to explore ways to ensure they can be as effective as possible.
“The discussions were wide-ranging, open and honest and I felt the meeting overall was very positive. The groups now have an established single point of contact which they can feed into, while the Safer Roads Partnership and Warwickshire Police were able to re-affirm their commitment to support the Community Speed Watch schemes for issues such as training and equipment calibration. There was also discussion around the wording of letters sent by police to persistent speeders and how this might be revised to get across stronger messages about the unacceptability of such behaviour and the potential consequences.
“Sadly, there are still too many people being killed or seriously injured on our roads, with more than 30 fatalities last year. With more and more vehicles on our roads, the issue of road safety is only likely to become even more prominent in the coming years, so we need to have the right mix of education, enforcement and engineering to make our highways safe for all users. This is something I will be promoting over the next 12 months, as I think we need a societal change to the way we view speeding and risk-taking on our roads if we are to see the numbers of deaths and serious injuries substantially reduced.”