Chief Constable unveils plans for ‘Community Speed Watch with teeth’
In an exclusive interview, Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Bill Skelly unveiled plans for a beefed-up Community Speed Watch scheme where a team made up of volunteers and PCSOs would be able to hit speeding drivers in the pocket.
Under the new powers, a PCSO and a team of three volunteers would be able to set up a speed check point and then enforce itBill Skelly, Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police
Under what Mr Skelly described as “Community Speed Watch with teeth”, teams would not only be able to monitor and report traffic speeds through their village but also enforce speed limits and take direct action against lawbreakers.
The plans were revealed by Mr Skelly less than two weeks before a public meeting in Cowbit on Monday, March 5, at 7.30pm, when people can have their say on drivers travelling through the village at speeds of up to 90mph, in a 30mph area.
Mr Skelly said: “I’m very keen that whilst recognising the limitations on the overall number of police officers I have and can afford, people know that I can help in supporting a local community to take some ownership of some of the problems to do with road safety.
“So I’m actively discussing the introduction of additional powers for PCSOs to be able to issue speeding tickets, as well as tickets for mobile phone use, driving whilst otherwise distracted and seat belt offences.
“As of April 1, I can also give the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to a number of volunteers who would receive training on these three out of the ‘Fatal 4’ activities.
“It may take a year or two to work through but I can give that power to volunteers who work closely with PCSOs and neighbourhood police officers so they can take more ownership, not only of monitoring speeding through their village, but actually enforcing speed limits through their village as well.”
Mr Skelly’s plans will add a major new dimension to a Community Speed Watch scheme that was relaunched by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Marc Jones at the first-ever Lincolnshire Road Safety Summit in Grantham last November.
Currently, more than 170 parishes in the county have signed up to the scheme where volunteers in high-visibility jackets use a Speed Indicator Device, warning signs and hand-held radar guns to check traffic speeds.
Mr Skelly said: “Under the new powers, a PCSO and a team of three volunteers would be able to set up a speed check point and then enforce it. I’d have to ensure that a PCSO is involved because there’s a danger of vigilantism and so if speed checks are led by one of my staff, they would be able to take an objective stance.
“This is Community Speed Watch with teeth because people could not only monitor and report, but actually enforce speeding to a legal standard in their area.
“If we did this then people would feel that not only would they be able to see the problem in their villages, but they could actually do something about it and make their village safer for people to drive and walk through. I do believe it’s achievable and I’m absolutely willing to work with my staff, the PCC’s office and Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership to bring this about.”
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