Where it came from
For many years some residents in Alstonefield have felt that there was a high level of speeding in and out of the village. In our experience this has increased as a proportion of vehicles, at the same time as the volume of traffic has also risen substantially.
Breaking the speed limit increases the likelihood of an accident and the severity of any accident that occurs, secondly it increases the noise and vibration, and thirdly it is highly unpleasant to walk on a relatively small pavement with vehicles speeding close by. This of course also affects visitors to the village such as DofE groups and others staying in holiday accommodation, etc.
Police testing resulted in suggestion of radar checking
Earlier in the year the Police fitted a static speed checker and monitored traffic on the Rakes for a week. They found that there was a significant problem and they suggested that forming a Community Speed Watch group would be a good way of addressing this problem. They have also sent police vans with cameras occasionally over the last few months. Tickets have been issued as a result of this.
How it works
Community Speed Watch is a locally driven initiative where members of the community join together with the support of the Police to monitor speeds of vehicles using speed detection devices. Vehicles exceeding the speed limit are referred to the Police with the aim of educating drivers to reduce their speeds.
The speed watch teams will use hand held radar equipment at pre-identified locations along the Rakes to check vehicle speeds coming in and out of the village. Registration numbers and makes of vehicles exceeding the local speed limit will be recorded. These details will then be collated and passed to the central co-ordinator at Staffordshire Police, where they are then processed and letters will be issued to the drivers.
Drivers found to be speeding will be issued with an advisory warning letter requesting that they slow down and observe the speed limit. If the same vehicle is caught on a second or subsequent occasion by any Community Speed Watch team in Staffordshire a follow-up final letter is issued.
If it is identified that the vehicle has been caught speeding through any Speed Watch for the third time within 12 months, the background of the vehicle will be checked and information will be passed to the appropriate local policing team who will organise for the keeper to be visited and warned.
Areas where speeding issues remain may also be targeted for enforcement activity.
A group of residents have formed the Alstonefield Community Speed Watch group and have been trained by the police to do this work. The police have identified several locations for the checking to take place and it will start as soon as the equipment is available.
Purchase of required items
The equipment – not just the speed gun, but signage, training, etc. – will be funded from a Staffordshire Local Community Fund grant offered by Cllr Gill Heath. The group is pleased to have the unanimous support of the Parish Council in providing financial logistics and equipment insurance.
A report will be made to the Parish Council on an annual basis, as requested.
Eventually…. First Session
We monitored speeds last Friday morning between 8 and 9 am. We ‘clocked’ all the vehicles that passed and the result was that 24% were breaking the speed limit.
The results have been passed to Staffordshire Police for action.
Next session imminent, so go easy on the accelerator!
Well, it wasn’t all that imminent….
The result of our activities this week (commencing 3rd Oct) is that letters will be sent from Staffordshire Police to 6 people who were speeding on the Rakes.
This represents 14% of the vehicles that were checked. If you bear in mind that there are warning signs on both sides of our location and that we wear high visi jackets I think such a high percentage is surprising.
We will try to chose a busier period next time!