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Newport speed force ready to get up and running

By Rob Smith | Newport | News | Published:

Newport has assembled a volunteer speed watch team that is "the first of its kind" to ensure drivers stick to the speed limit in their town.

Some of the volunteers with police and the region's commissioner John Campion. Picture: @NewportCops

So far 10 residents have signed up to the Safer Roads Partnership's Community Speed Watch programme (CSW) in Newport, so that they can help police monitor speeds.

The first volunteers will receive their training on February 5. Hand-held speed detection devices and high vis clothing are funded by the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner.

Pc Lee Thomas from Newport's Safer Neighbourhood Team said: "The Newport scheme will be the first of its kind where a larger group of volunteers will be able to work on a number of identified streets around the town.

"Volunteers have to work in groups of three for safety reasons, but the size of the scheme means that more than one street can be monitored in a day or several streets can be monitored during a seven day period, volunteers' availability allowing.

"In conjunction with the Safety Camera Partnership, we have identified an initial set of streets where CSW activity is suitable from a personal safety point of view and where a good proportion of vehicles do exceed posted speed limits and would fall within the lower levels of enforcement or prosecution.

"These initial streets are Wellington Road, Station Road and Stafford Road.

"There will be more than one location on each of the above streets that the CSW group can operate from to gain a better picture of any issues.

'Prevent offending rather than deal with the aftermath'

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"How it works is that the volunteers record the date, time, speed and registration number of vehicles they observe exceeding the posted speed limit.

"This information is then sent back directly to the Safety Camera Partnership who write to offending drivers informing them that their speed has been recorded and offering driver education advice.

"If the same registration number is recorded by volunteers several times, not necessarily at the same location but within the same scheme, then the Safety Camera Partnership will inform us as the Safer Neighbourhood Team and we will make a personal visit to the registered keeper of the vehicle where possible, to speak with offending drivers directly.

"The primary aim is driver education and road safety, and to prevent offending rather than deal with the aftermath.

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"Once the scheme is up and running on the three streets above, we will begin surveying work on other roads, including Boughey Road, Longford Road, Vineyard Road and Vineyard Drive to establish if they fit the criteria to be included in the scheme going forward.

"These are streets which residents have raised concerns with us about, however monitoring carried out previously has only identified a very small number of drivers actually exceeding speed limits; where they are, only by a relatively small amount, and not to a degree where they would be liable to prosecution."

He said that the Newport volunteers currently have one set of equipment but that the police hope to apply for more once the scheme's success has been proven.

Volunteers must be aged 18 or over, and will only be accepted onto a scheme once appropriate checks have been carried out. Anyone hoping to volunteer must be able to make a regular commitment to carry out activity and must adhere to the scheme's safety rules at all times.

They will be trained in how to use the equipment as well as health and safety requirements.

Police advised anyone with concerns about speeding in their community to contact their parish council or Safer Neighbourhood Team.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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