In this article first published in our May magazine, Derrick Powell, Bradley Stoke Community Speed Watch Coordinator (pictured above, left), describes how the group operates and what its objectives are.
We organise teams comprised of a minimum of three volunteers to conduct speed watches on the roads in and around Bradley Stoke.
We work in conjunction with the police and are funded by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) who provide equipment i.e. speed guns, luminescent jackets, clipboards etc. Meetings are held every two months at the SGC offices in Yate, to discuss activity and future developments for the speed watch members.
We are currently adopting a computer system developed by Devon and Cornwall Police called SWAN, where we can centralise all information gathered by Community Speed Watch (CSW) teams throughout South Gloucestershire. Avon and Somerset Police will hold all this information, and SGC will have access to all non-confidential information.
Our main aim is to record any speeding motorists and pass this information to Avon and Somerset Police. Whether it be 40, 30 or 20 miles per hour. This is carried out by means of a letter for the first offence, a follow up letter of a more serious nature and a visit from the police for a second offence. Should the offending motorist be caught speeding for the third time, they will be visited by the police and further action will be taken by means of a fixed penalty or court summons.
The vast majority of rural locations claiming to be affected do not fit the profile for regular robust police intervention or physical road calming measures from the Highways Agency or local authority. Regular targeted intervention by the police at every perceived site in South Gloucestershire, is not a sustainable option … this is where Community Speed Watch comes into effect.
The decision as to where the speed watch will be conducted is left up to the CSW team. A map of the road or area, once selected, is then sent to the Police Motorway Unit at Almondsbury and they will conduct a site survey to see if it is suitable and safe to conduct the speed watch. Only then are we allowed to conduct our own speed watch.
After the speed watch has been conducted, an analysis of the situation will be undertaken. All the information is gathered together and examined to determine the characteristics and cause of the problem using the characteristics of the VICTIM, the LOCATION and the OFFENDER.
We study the type of location where the offences are being committed and try to establish key factors: e.g. school route; used as a short cut; route used as a delivery run.
We study the physical environment and patterns of events (dates and times of offending): e.g. whether committed during daytime; whether there is good natural surveillance (view not blocked by trees or bushes).
Our remit is not restricted to just using the radar guns; we will endeavour to do a PR exercise and visit concerned families with regard to speeding motorists in their area.
I personally was contacted from a concerned resident about speeding in their area. After listening to their concerns and looking at the area I suggested that 30 miles-per-hour ‘tri signs’ were erected on lampposts to highlight and remind motorists that this was a 30mph zone in anticipation that this would act as a reminder, and also supply ‘KILL YOUR SPEED’ bin stickers so that when the rubbish bins were put out it would also be a reminder to motorists. I await what effect this has had for future campaigns to stop motorists speeding in built up areas, especially where families with young children are residing.
Our Bradley Stoke team was formed two years ago when we replied to an advertisement in the local papers; four of our local residents decided that we would do this on a voluntary basis. It has taken quite a while to get all of the equipment together and after attending several meetings we have finally managed to get fully equipped.
We have a budget to buy new equipment when needed and also maintain existing items. We have not been able to conduct any watches as yet due to lack of equipment and manpower, but that is about to change as two new residents have volunteered to join our team, so, after training, we will be able to conduct watches.
The duration of watches is usually two hours and conducted in the hours of daylight, am or pm, but can be both depending on traffic flow and urgency.
We can be contacted by phone on 07900 843268, so if any residents have concerns regarding speeding in their immediate area, please get in contact and we will do our utmost to accommodate your request.
Please remember that this is a voluntary team and watches / personal visits have to be fitted in around working and social hours. We also depend on the police to conduct Health & Safety checks (outside their normal duties) to check on the areas earmarked for speed watch.
Photo: Bradley Stoke Community Speed Watch Coordinator Derrick Powell (left) with volunteers Fred Hillberg and Richard Cornelius.
Photo: Community Speed Watch ‘tri sign’ on a lamp post in Ormonds Close, Bradley Stoke.
This article originally appeared in the May 2014 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,450 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
Related link: Community Speed Watch (SGC)
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