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Community Speed Watch day of action sees over 300 warning letters issued to motorists

09 September 2021
Over 140 volunteers who give their spare time to reduce speeding in their towns and villages have taken part in a day of action with 335 drivers being issued with warning letters. 

The education and enforcement event saw 35 teams carry out 48 one hour sessions across Dorset on Tuesday 7 September with 58 per cent of those speeding being from Dorset. 

Community Speed Watch is run through Dorset Police and provides an opportunity for volunteers to work within their community to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and to help control the problem locally.

Teams use radar detection devices to monitor drivers exceeding the speed limit at locations agreed with Dorset Police. This equipment does not record an image so the volunteers record the vehicle details and pass these to the Force for their vehicle and driver information to be checked before a warning letter is issued.

Martha Perry, Community Speed Watch co-ordinator said: “The scheme empowers communities to take local action around speeding and get a true understanding of the extent of the problem. 

“During the operation the highest speed recorded was 62mph in a 30 limit in Westbourne around lunchtime which is clearly unacceptable.” 

If drivers come to the attention of Speed Watch teams on numerous occasions, the driver will potentially become an ‘Operation Dragoon’ target, resulting in a visit from an officer and a greater level of enforcement attention. 

The day of action was supported by the safety camera team as well as the No Excuse team to provide a greater focus on speed which is one of the five biggest causes of serious and fatal collisions. 

During some sessions an officer will join the Speed Watch teams, using enforcement equipment so drivers can never be sure if the activity is our team of volunteers or our enforcement officer which would result in points and a fine – with 38 drivers receiving an enforcement letter during the day of action from this scheme.

Brian Austin, Road Safety Operations Manager said: “Overall we have almost 1,000 speed watch volunteers providing additional eyes and ears out in our community to help us enhance our intelligence and better understand locations vulnerable to drivers talking a risk with their speed. 

“The Speed Watch team results are also shared with local authorities through the Dorset Road Safe Partnership for consideration of other speed restriction and road engineering measures such as traffic calming, speed indicator devices or a change to the limit to be considered.”

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to our volunteers and ask that anyone wishing to join an existing team or form a new one gets in touch with us via dorsetroadsafe.org.uk” 

David Sidwick, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner said: “This was an excellent result which demonstrates the important role our Community Speed Watch groups play in making our roads safer.

“Having been out with Community Speed Watch groups, I have seen first-hand the incredible work that these dedicated volunteers do across the county. I have huge admiration for them and I am very keen on supporting them and expanding the number of teams operating in Dorset.”

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