Volunteers set to be armed with speed guns to catch motorists driving dangerously

Rory Sullivan
·2-min read
An archive photo shows a volunteer in Ash, Somerset, with a speed gun.  (PA)
An archive photo shows a volunteer in Ash, Somerset, with a speed gun. (PA)

Police could use volunteers to catch motorists who are speeding under a new national scheme being proposed to curb dangerous driving.

Although “community speedwatch” volunteers already help monitor vehicle speeds for local police, the intelligence they gather is not shared with other forces in different parts of the country.

Alison Hernandez, head of road safety at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), has called on the government – amid its review into road policing – to change this.

Ms Hernandez, who also works as the police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, said that nationalising the schemes could help police to spot more motorists who regularly drive dangerously.

“There would be benefit in joining up community speedwatch schemes under a national platform, with proper governance and standards in place to allow data to be accessed and shared more readily rather than lost,” she added.

Her comments came after an APCC survey earlier this month found that 78 per cent of the 66,266 people it surveyed said they witnessed traffic offences daily or weekly.

Seven in 10 of the respondents also said they were in favour of increasing the fines for road offences such as not wearing a seatbelt, which currently incurs a £100 charge.

Referring to the policy of using volunteers to tackle speeding, Edmund King, president of the AA, told The Times that methods such as police patrols and digital warning signs were more effective. “There are better solutions than volunteers in yellow jackets,” he said.

Currently, volunteers pass on information to the police so that drivers can be educated about the dangers of speeding. Enforcement and prosecution can follow for repeat offenders, according to the Community Speedwatch UK’s website.

On Sunday, volunteers clocked a Ford in Wisborough Green doing 99 mph in an area with a speed limit of 30 mph, while last month others spotted a Toyota going at 58 mph in a 30-mph zone.

Department for Transport figures reveal that 1,752 people died in Britain last year in road accidents.

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