Community Speed Watch in Huntingdonshire
"Because our Community Matters"
Sir Graham Bright the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire visiting Speedwatch in Ramsey Heights, click on picture to know more.
Neighbourhood Panels have been established to identify neighbourhood priorities and to monitor agreed Partnership action. There has generally been growing concern expressed at the panels regarding issues of road safety, and anti social speeding has consistently been identified as a community priority. Such concerns reflect the past findings of the British Crime Survey where speeding was identified as a key priority. Neighbourhood Panels have shown that the concerns caused by speeding vehicles in communities are especially high.
Public perceptions of speeding hot-spots often do not correlate with the analysis of casualty reduction sites identified by the County Council. There is demand for police speed enforcement action at speeding sites identified through Neighbourhood Panels. A new way of partnership working is needed to ensure community expectations are met and effective speed enforcement activity still takes place. Intelligence-led speed enforcement activity by the police will continue, supplemented by local Speedwatch action; Road Safety Partnership work will continue focussing their campaigns around KSI (Killed & Seriously Injured) sites.
Responding effectively to the genuine speeding concerns expressed by Neighbourhood Panels requires a new partnership approach. Speedwatch provides the opportunity for the public to influence and contribute to education of drivers and assist the police in any enforcement activity thereafter.
Speedwatch is the manifestation of a safety activity being adopted and practiced by the community, reflecting current Government thinking that policing goes beyond the remit of official agencies.
'Promoting safer driving in communities through education, rather than prosecution'
'A driving licence is a privilege, not a right!'
Speedwatch can and does report drivers for using mobile phones. Research claims driving while on a mobile slows reaction times so much it could be more dangerous than drink-driving!
Speeding and driving is a deeply emotional subject, many drivers thinking they are very good will refuse criticism. Unfortunately, most crashes are due to poor driving that were preventable, so, the facts do not justify the emotions. Most drivers having passed their test never have their driving checked and through time will develop faults and misconceptions. Others will be enthusiastic and learn new skills, putting them to good use, this we encourage and promote through our web links.
There is nothing like a Speedwatch scheme to bring division and controversy, some drivers hate us, far more love us and stop to give encouragement (maybe they are fed up with the aggressive tailgating, law abiding drivers too often encounter in posted speed limit areas?), residents offer cups of tea/coffee, others complain bitterly we have not visited their village and ask us to come soon!
The purpose of this web site is to explain the facts, rather than myths, about Speedwatch, that is operating in the the St. Ives and Ramsey areas, Cambridgeshire.
Speedwatch is being run out across England, but, counties seem to be operating differently. Complaints about schemes operated elsewhere may be valid but are not an issue for those in Cambridgeshire which are run differently.
In fact, Speedwatch is a worldwide initiative!
Our equipment in action at Bury, the display is tripod mounted and informs the driver of their speed.
Does Speedwatch have teeth? No, it is educational, BUT, the police do carry out joint checks with Speedwatch where speeders may be prosecuted, the police will also use data to mount their own independent checks. Ignoring Speedwatch could result in a prosecution and already has!
Speedwatch, the Police and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service at Ramsey Mereside with Nick Bennett.
Nick was just 17 when he suffered a brain injury. He was a self confessed “boy
racer” who had recently passed his driving test. Early one morning driving to
work Nick made the worst decision of his life when he overtook two cars. He had
a head on collision with a three-tonne lorry coming the other way. Nick spent 10
months in intensive care fighting for survival. He made a remarkable recovery
but is now in a wheelchair with severely affected mobility and speech. Aged 24
and with this experience behind him Nick has backed a campaign by road safety
charity ‘Brake’ to urge young drivers to use the roads safely. Click here for
Speedwatch and the police at Bury, nr Ramsey
Speedwatch and the police at Earith
Speedwatch and the police at Hilton
Speedwatch and the police at Earith
Speedwatch and the police at Colne
Speedwatch and the police at Somersham
Speedwatch - The facts!
Community Speed Watch is a scheme to encourage people to reduce speeding traffic though their community. The scheme enables volunteers to work within their community to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and poor driving, helping to control the problem locally.
Many villages and small towns have a problem with vehicles that fail to reduce speed. On country routes, a 60mph zone may regularly become a 40 or 30mph zone, as it passes through small communities.
Yet many drivers don't reduce their speed until they are well past the speed limit sign. And many only slow down by a small amount - not enough to be within the speed limit. They may simply be oblivious that they are in a residential area and need to slow down.
These drivers risk the safety of local residents and pedestrians - especially children.
Not all hamlets and villages enjoy footpaths and may only provide a single track road.
Despite the controversy, Speedwatch is a compromise between traffic calming and lower speed limits (20mph) and the driver who is cocooned and oblivious to the outside environment and needs of communities.
IT HAS NEVER BEEN DEMONSTRATED THAT MAKING DRIVERS STAY WITHIN SPEED LIMITS HAS RESULTED IN AN INCREASE IN CRASHES. BUT - THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOW SPEED FAILURE ARE LESS DISASTROUS THAN THAT OF HIGH SPEED FAILURE! These are facts which the anti-Speedwatch lobby cannot fault, and any demonstration that Speedwatch is misplaced cannot come from 'pub law' but from scientific research proved to the contrary.
The scheme is run with local volunteers and the police working together.
We need two types of volunteers:
1/ Those who operate the equipment, undertaking the checks, for which full and ongoing training is given.
2/ Those who can identify problem areas and coordinate between the local council, residents and Speedwatch, finding locals to help when we're doing checks.
This web site is the unofficial web site of the Speedwatch volunteers in North West Cambridgeshire, Ramsey and St. Ives area. This web site does not represent the views of the police, council, government or any official body or person.
The official Cambridgeshire Constabulary web site please click here.
This is a private web site, managed by some (not all) of the volunteers.
This web site is to help anyone understand what Speedwatch is about and answer questions.
Speedwatch does NOT operate speed traps, but speed checks.
Speedwatch does NOT operate in national speed limit areas, we operate only in communities where a 30 or 40 mph limit is posted. National speed limits are set by politicians, which like speed cameras, is an area that does not concern us (Speedwatch). The 30 or 40 mph areas is where you will find us, it is a restricted speed area for reasons of safety to all road users. Issues of the NSL and speed cameras is not what Speedwatch is about.
Speedwatch is not political, we are not green, trendy lefty, neither left or right, but we do know the difference between right and wrong!
Speedwatch is not a pressure group, but a Police operated community group, such as Countryside Watch and Neighbourhood Watch. Speedwatch is overseen by the police neighbourhood teams and each 'watch' is recorded, having an incident number. Those observed exceeding the speed limit in our community are reported to the police, who will write a letter.
All volunteers are trained and receive ongoing training. Volunteers are not a new idea, the NHS uses MAGPAS, (one of our members is MAGPAS), the police use volunteers in other areas, there are lifeboat men, firemen etc. Using speed measuring equipment by comparison to other volunteer groups is not that involved, though must be done honestly. The greatest killer of young people in the UK is excess use of speed on the roads!
Speedwatch also investigates alleged locations of speeding, we can over a period of time establish whether the problem is perceived or real. This certainly assists the police who can concentrate on other matters. A location may for example be a narrow road with tall buildings right on the road, visually and from hearing, a problem may be perceived of high speeds where in fact the vehicles are being driven both legally and considerately.
Speedwatch is not anti-car, we are pro-car, our members enjoy their motoring, some even holding advanced driving certificates. Anti-social behaviour through breaking speed limits in communities is dangerous and illegal. How ever good a driver is, when driving through a community, other road users, including children, need to be able to react to that driver's presence. It is much more difficult if that car suddenly comes out of nowhere at a too higher speed!
If drivers, who had to pass a driving test, were to continue to drive to the standards set out in the Highway Code, problems, crashes and stress would disappear from our roads, these drivers selfishly have replaced the Highway Code with the Myway Code! And only they alone understand what they are doing, which is not fair, as driving requires social skills which are contrary to selfishness.
If you see us out we welcome the chance to talk, explain the equipment and how we operate!
Areas we will be carrying out checks are at Wistow, Upwood, Ramsey Heights, Forty Foot and Mereside. Other locations can be added if requested.
We are creating lots and lots of interest, mostly positive, if you wish to become a volunteer, see our links page!
We have a questions and answers page, which should deal with any queries you have, many of the questions or comments answered are from those opposed to Speedwatch.
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
Helping Drivers Not To Speed Policy Paper
Click on logo below for pdf:
Speedwatch is still a new idea with various counties handling it differently. It has to be better than prosecution and speed humps, which are the alternative! Can Speedwatch be improved, yes and we are still learning and must keep learning.
Neighbourhood Speedwatch is in its infancy, and it is almost inevitable that the process will be refined and developed in its operation.
Speed is only part of the problem, drivers need to improve their overall driving and government needs to provide proper road policing along with better roads.
There is no one answer to reducing crashes, and Speedwatch is a small but important part in built up areas.
Ultimately speeding in built up areas will not be allowed, those who selfishly demand to do so will in time force on the motoring community GPS speed control, speed humps, chicanes and all sorts of unpleasant obstacles to negotiate. These are the alternatives to Speedwatch, they are expensive, are unpleasant, unsightly (do we really want villages covered in speed calming?). The country is near bankrupt and Speedwatch offers a driver friendly (education, not prosecution) solution using the community working together at virtually no cost.
Speedwatch has a long way to go and there are areas crying out for improvement, so, it can only get better.
Those opposed to Speedwatch need to propose a workable alternative!
The good news is - drivers engaged in anti-social driving can change today, for the better!
'Promoting safer driving in communities through education, rather than prosecution'