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Children join Police to target law-flouting drivers

Schoolchildren from North Dorset joined forces with Dorset Police officers on Friday 13 December 2013 to target law-flouting motorists.

Pupils from Archbishop Wake CE VC Primary School accompanied police officers from Blandford Safer Neighbourhood Team and the newly formed Community Speed Watch team to tackle bad and careless driving outside their school in Black Lane in Blandford.

The aim of the operation was to focus on Dorset Police’s ‘fatal four’, which are the main types of driving behaviour that are known to result in fatal and serious injury collisions.

Operation Black Lane was a joint initiative involving Dorset Police, Blandford Town Council, Blandford Community Speed Watch Team and students and staff from Archbishop Wake School.

The road had been identified as being a speeding hotspot earlier this year after more than 100 cars were recorded travelling over the 30 miles per hour limit in just one day.

Motorists travelling along Black Lane were targeted if they were suspected of committing any of the ‘fatal four’ offences – speeding, drink or drug driving, using a hand-held mobile phone while driving or failing to wear a seatbelt. Random checks were also carried out.

In total 15 vehicles were stopped for minor traffic offences and issued with words of advice. Nine of these drivers were breath tested and all were negative.

Police Constable Rob Hammond, of Blandford Town Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “In October 2013 police conducted speed checks on Black Lane, Blandford, where the speed limit changes from 50mph to 30mph as the road enters a residential area and passes one of the local schools. This revealed over 100 cars in a day going too fast, and identified the area as a potential black spot.

“In order to highlight the problem, and to change drivers’ attitudes through education as well as enforcement, a joint operation was put together by the local Safer Neighbourhood Team with the help of the newly established Community Speed Watch and students from the local school.”

Police Community Support Officer Mike Sinnick, of Blandford Town Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “This operation was designed to be a joint partnership approach to road safety aimed at educating drivers. I think the event was a great success and the views of the students given to drivers stopped had positive impact which was well received and greatly appreciated.”

Jo Hicks, Head Teacher at Archbishop Wake School, said: “I thought it was a really worthwhile experience for the children. They were able to tell drivers how worried they felt about speeding in Black Lane and hearing this from children had a real impact. 

“The drivers were all asked to tell their families, friends and colleagues about their experience and I'm sure the children would have gone home and told their parents too. It is only working together as a community that will make a real difference on issues like this.”

Schoolchildren from Archbishop Wake School also spoke about their experience.

One pupil said: “It was really interesting watching the police stopping the cars and asking people the questions.”

Another replied: “I hope it makes people slow down when they drive past the school.”

Councillor Tony Harrocks, of Blandford Town Council and Community Speed Watch coordinator, said: “It was an excellent day. The children learnt a lot about road safety and the importance of speed limits.”

Chris Durham, Blandford Homewatch coordinator and deputy Community Speed Watch coordinator, added: “Community Speed Watch is all about education and making people aware of their speed. The use of the children to reinforce the risk is an excellent idea.”

Issued: 23 December 2013

Blandford Children