Potential new Speed Watch powers in Lincolnshire get mixed response

Coun Nigel Pepper, county councillor for Cowbit and Crowland, is backing extra enforcement measures to tackle speeding drivers like those being discussed by Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Bill Skelly. Photo supplied.
  • Different views on Chief’s plan for PCSOs and volunteers to hand out penalties

The potential for PCSOs and Community Speed Watch volunteers to have new powers to fine speeding drivers has received a mixed reaction from road safety campaigners.

Plans under discussion that could see anyone caught speeding, using a mobile phone or not wearing a seat belt within a Community Speed Watch handed a penalty ticket were revealed by our sister newspaper, the Spalding Guardian, on Thursday.

In the report, Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Bill Skelly said that powers outlined in the Policing and Crime Act 2017, which come into effect on April 1, would allow communities to “take more ownership” over road safety where they live.

Mr Skelly said: “It would be Community Speed Watch with teeth because, with the proper health and safety training, people would not only monitor speeding through their village but actually enforce speeding through their village.”

Chris Baty-Symes, who voluntarily monitored speeds through Cowbit on behalf of the parish council until giving up in protest at the lack of enforcement last month, said: “It’s good to see an acknowledgement that we have real speeding issues in Cowbit.

“However, it isn’t practical to have live speed checks on all three roads (Backgate, Barrier Bank and Stonegate) 24/7 which is what the speed indicator device (SID) data shows.

It isn’t practical to have live speed checks on all three roads (Backgate, Barrier Bank and Stonegate) 24/7 which is what the speed indicator device (SID) data shows

Chris Baty-Symes, of Cowbit

“With SID, data shows speeders comprising 40 to 60 per cent of the traffic passing through Cowbit, live police checks put it down at just one to two per cent.

“This would suggest the only realistic solution is to have traffic calming measures installed and, potentially, average speed camera equipment along Barrier Bank, starting in Crowland.

“With the extreme speeds observed, it is just time before a tragic event occurs so I hope the authorities make the right decisions now, rather than wait for a tragedy to happen before reacting.”

However, Cowbit and Crowland county councillor Nigel Pepper said: “It’s been proven that many of those speeding in and around our towns and villages are quite often local to the community.

“Therefore, static speed cameras are of little use as they know where they are and can adjust their speed accordingly.

“The type of enforcement suggested by the Chief Constable would be particularly welcomed in and around Cowbit where there is evidence of high speeds as captured on the parish council’s ‘Speed Indicator Device’.”

Concerns over speeding in Cowbit have led Coun Nigel Pepper, to hold a public meeting in the village on Monday, March 5, at 7.30pm.

Among those expected to attend is Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones who launched a revamped Community Speed Watch scheme at his Lincolnshire Road Safety Summit last November.

Commenting on the Chief Constable’s plans, Mr Jones said: “Tackling speeding motorists is a crucial part of protecting our residents and the new Community Speed Watch scheme is an important part of the process of educating drivers about speed.

“However, enforcement is clearly a matter for the Chief Constable and I would be interested to see any propositions designed to enhance community safety.

“There will, no doubt, be a number of issues to contend with and so I look forward to seeing the Chief Constable’s proposals.”

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