Community Cracks Down on Speeding Drivers
A Gwent community now has a new weapon in its arsenal to crackdown on speeding motorists thanks to support from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and Gwent Police.
The village of Aberbeeg is the latest in the Gwent Police Force area to sign up for the Community Speedwatch initiative which aims to educate drivers about the dangers of speeding whilst addressing the concerns of local residents about vehicles speeding through their neighbourhoods.
Since 2014, the Gwent OPCC has awarded £45,000 to establish around 18 Community Speedwatch sites throughout the region. With the money they were awarded, the PRCP (Pantddu Road, Cwmnant and Pentrepiod) Action Group in Aberbeeg have purchased a speed gun, associated equipment and have provided essential training for volunteers to use the equipment.
The Aberbeeg initiative follows on from other successful watches established in Gwent and volunteers are now supporting the work of Gwent Police by warning drivers about their speeding.
The group is now regularly monitoring the speed of drivers on the road leading from Parkways Road at Pen-y-fan Industrial Estate between the Oakdale and Aberbeeg roundabouts in the Caerphilly County Borough Council area. The stretch of road has a speed limit of 30mph and a recent survey carried out by the local authority shows that volumes of traffic have more than doubled in the last 10 years with an average of 5,300 vehicles a day now using the road which is unclassified and has no pavement in many parts. The survey carried out by the council also showed that motorists were breaking the speed limit 80% of the time and the highest speed recorded was 71mph in the 30mph zone. The highest speed recorded by the local Speedwatch initiative, which has only just begun, is 49mph.
The Speedwatch scheme operates on roads with speed limits of 40mph or below. Community volunteers work alongside Gwent Police officers or Community Support Officers to identify vehicles exceeding the speed limit. Roadside volunteers are provided with high-visibility jackets, roadside signs and are trained to use the equipment and record details of offending vehicles.
If a vehicle is seen exceeding the speed limit, the registration number will be taken down and verified by the volunteers. The details are then entered onto a database from which a letter is automatically produced informing the registered owner that their vehicle has been noted to have exceeded the speed limit, the dangers of doing so and the consequences if they're found speeding again.
While no prosecutions or penalties are received as a direct result of Speedwatch, if the same registration number is logged three times, more formal action may be taken.
To date 170 volunteers have been signed up to the scheme in Gwent and over 2,400 letters have been sent to motorists. The scheme works alongside Go Safe and, in some cases, based on the data gathered by Speedwatch volunteers, it has led to further analysis taking place and sites being classed as dedicated camera sites.
Highlighting their reasons behind establishing the scheme, Tina Hart, the Secretary of the PRCP Action Group Aberbeeg, said: "Following on from concerns raised by residents who live on Pantddu Road, an Action Group was set up to tackle the problem. We have seen an increase in the volume of traffic using the road in the last ten years but the speed of traffic on the road is of a particular concern. Our aim is to increase the safety of all road users - not just the residents but the motorists too. Through this scheme we hope to drive home the message that speed kills. We want people to slow down and help us to make this road a safer environment for all. We would like to thank the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent and Gwent Police for their support with this initiative."
Explaining the importance of the Community Speedwatch initiative, Sian Curley, the Chief of Staff for the OPCC for Gwent, said: "This scheme enables local people to become actively involved in helping to slow down traffic in problem areas within the community. The aim is to change local and driver attitudes towards speeding, to reduce excessive speeding and create a safer environment for the local community.
Speedwatch has been a real success story in Gwent by empowering local people to tackle a problem in the community whilst reducing demand on valuable policing time."
Inspector Lee Ford, who oversees the Speedwatch implementation for Gwent Police, said: "It is really pleasing to see how well Community Speedwatch has developed. It is an excellent way for involving the local community and educating motorists about their driving. The areas where Community Speedwatch operates are areas where there is a real concern from local residents about the speed of vehicles."
The 18 Speedwatch sites in Gwent:
- Llanfair Kilgedden
- Abergavenny- two schemes
- St Arvans
- Littlemill/ Monkswood
- (DWR) Draethan, Waterloo & Rudry- three schemes
To express an interest in becoming a Community Speedwatch volunteer or to find out more about the role, please email Emily Godsell at Gwent Police firstname.lastname@example.org