‘Speed guns’ are on their way to South Holland

A glimpse of things to come: volunteers and police man a Community Speedwatch scheme in Suffolk.
A glimpse of things to come: volunteers and police man a Community Speedwatch scheme in Suffolk.
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Volunteers are lining up to use hand-held ‘speed guns’ on roads throughout South Holland to tame pedal-to-the-metal drivers.

Trained Community Speedwatch volunteers are expected to be on our streets by spring with villages like Pinchbeck, Sutton St James and Sutton Bridge eager to get started.

People caught speeding can expect a first warning letter from the Speedwatch coordinator, who will have access to driver details through the police national computer, and a second, sterner warning if caught again.

But it’s not a toothless system because the police won’t be far behind.

Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership spokesman John Siddle said: “If it crops up a third time, they will get a visit from a police officer at home and the police will take it from there – that may just be words of advice, which quite often corrects things, and it may be that we then have to target that person.

“If someone is driving at 50mph past a school every morning, we don’t have an issue with targeting them.”

Parish councils and community groups are buying radar guns for a few hundred pounds and these will be calibrated against the £2,000-plus, police issue speed guns to ensure they are sufficiently accurate.

Four volunteer coordinators will feed speed-data to the county coordinator, due to be appointed any day by the road safety partnership.

Mr Siddle says Community Speedwatch volunteers have had an impact on speeding elsewhere in the country.

“It’s very similar to people seeing a mobile speed camera van,” he said. “In the first instance, drivers lift their foot off the gas. If they lift their foot, and slow down, that’s almost job done.

“That’s what we are trying to do – to get people to slow down.”

He expects volunteers to be bolstered from time to time by police doing speed checks but drivers won’t get a second chance or a warning letter from police.

Mr Siddle said: “I can see the possibility of volunteers being out one week and police the next. Drivers then run the risk of ‘is it a volunteer or is it a police officer?’, you just never know.”

First results from speed indicator devices (SIDs) in Gosberton’s High Street showed a staggering 33,918 drivers flouted the 30mph limit in a four-week spell in March.

More than 100 were double the speed limit or faster.

Sutton St James is a speeding hot spot and its SIDs set up earlier this year soon found one driver doing 90mph-plus in a 30 limit.

Speeding is a big concern in Sutton Bridge, particularly in Bridge Road, and Pinchbeck Parish Council has called for an official speed survey in Six House Bank, West Pinchbeck, where motorists flout the 40mph limit on a route to school. More than 220 people supported a petition started by residents to cut the 40mph limit on Six House Bank.

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones said: “Speeding motorists are a huge concern for people living in villages and towns up and down this county and we should do everything possible to mitigate this problem.

“The new Speedwatch scheme is a great example of empowering local people to make a positive impact on their own community.

“We will support them, train them, as well as employing an officer to co-ordinate the project and process letters to speeding motorists so, hopefully, together we can make a real difference.”

Previously ...

Nearly 34,000 drivers caught speeding in Gosberton in March

More than 220 people back speed limit reduction in West Pinchbeck

Sutton St James campaigner stands in road with pet dog to slow speeding cars