Community speed crackdown catches nearly 500

A DIY community crackdown in Suffolk towns and villages has led to nearly 500 speeding drivers receiving written reprimands, according to police.

The initiative is being hailed a success after residents using speed guns caught 467 motorists breaking 30mph limits since February last year.

Working in pairs, 160 approved Community Speed Watch (CSW) volunteers are using hand-held Speedars to catch errant motorists in a bid to make their roads safer.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said on three occasions it had even been necessary to send out final warnings to drivers who transgressed for a second time.

The county currently has nine CSW schemes, with eight more on the way.

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Those already in place include various parishes in the Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) areas of Babergh West, Mid Suffolk South, St Edmundsbury Rural North and Rural South, Kesgrave and district, Woodbridge and district, and Lowestoft North.

The schemes encompass 37 parishes in total, along with one neighbourhood watch area.

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Jill Gipp, CSW co-ordinator in the Kesgrave/Woodbridge SNT, which includes Debach and several other parishes said: “The scheme has undoubtedly been a success in our area. Our village has a real speeding problem, with many heavy goods vehicles travelling far too fast on a road that was built for much smaller vehicles.

“CSW acts as a deterrent to drivers, and slows down traffic effectively.”

Sergeant Colin Curtis from Mid Suffolk South SNT said: “As a Safer Neighbourhood Team, our communities regularly tell us that one of the main issues affecting them is the speed of vehicles travelling through their villages.

“CSW allows them to play an active part in speed reduction, allowing the police to do the follow-up work on education and enforcement.

“I commend the parishes that have signed up to this initiative for their hard work who have been very proactive and are co-operating together to do something positive to address this problem.”

When a driver is caught speeding one of the two volunteers makes a note of the motorist’s number plate and passes it on to their SNT.

Once officers are satisfied everything is in order, the matter is referred to Suffolk Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit, which issues a warning letter.

The CSW schemes have been funded from county council locality budgets, sponsorship, grants or parish funds.

The first scheme was set up in Blythburgh, with the inaugural speed check being conducted on February 19, 2009.

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