Residents asked to pay for speed gun

PROPOSALS by Suffolk police to ask the public to buy a speed gun to crack down on motoring offences in Aldeburgh have been criticised.

Richard Smith

PROPOSALS by Suffolk police to ask the public to buy a speed gun to crack down on motoring offences in Aldeburgh have been criticised.

Residents in the town have already been told their local tax precept is increasing to pay �14,000 towards the annual cost of employing a police community support officer (PCSO) dedicated to Aldeburgh.

Now there is a request that the town pays �2,000 towards a speed gun which would be shared with Leiston town council.

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But Stephen Hawes, an Aldeburgh town councillor, said he was unhappy that the public was in effect paying twice for services provided by Suffolk police.

Residents pay towards the costs of running a police force through the council tax and it has been announced that the police's part of the tax will rise 4.27% in April. Residents on a band D property are currently paying �150 a year for policing.

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Cllr Hawes told a meeting of the council's finance and general purposes committee that the police force should be able to provide their own equipment through their budget.

He said: ''Residents are already paying �14,000 for a PCSO and now they are being asked to pay extra for a speed gun. The job of providing this lies with the public services who we are already paying.''

There is a speed gun currently available for Saxmundham, Framlingham, Leiston and Aldeburgh. Recent surveys of speeding in Aldeburgh have shown a widespread disregard by drivers for obeying the 30mph limits on Saxmundham Road and Leiston Road.

Marianne Fellowes, an Aldeburgh town and district councillor, said: ''The speed gun that is there already is for the whole police sector.

''Now there is an opportunity, if people want to, to purchase a speed gun to use in a certain area but we would need to have volunteers to operate it on a regular basis.

''We should ask the public if they would like �2,000 on their precept.''

Leiston town council is waiting for Aldeburgh to make a decision on a joint purchase of a speed gun and a few Leiston councillors have already expressed similar concerns about being asked to buy police equipment.

However, the finance and general purposes committee decided that a decision should be deferred for several months.

In the meantime residents will be asked for their views at a public meeting in Aldeburgh on a date to be decided.

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