Suffolk: Volunteer road safety enforces catch 11,000 speeding motorists
GROUPS of DIY speed enforcers who operate in Suffolk villages have caught nearly 11,000 motorists in just three years, it has emerged.
According to police figures, 10,934 letters have been issued to drivers since Community Speedwatch was introduced in the county in February 2009. And a total of 440 drivers have been sent further letters after being caught for a second time.
The scheme, in which volunteers armed with speed guns monitor motorists, was last night hailed as being an effective deterrent.
Following its introduction in Blythburgh three years ago, the initiative was rolled out in the county and there are now 33 schemes.
Police stress the aim of Speedwatch is not to fine speeding motorists, but to remind them of their responsibilities. If somebody is caught, the registered keeper of the vehicle is contacted by Suffolk Constabulary and issued with a written warning and advice.
A maximum of two letters can be sent, before details are passed to a roads policing officer for intervention or prosecution.
Binny Last, co-ordinator of the Blythburgh scheme, said: “The aim of Speedwatch groups first and foremost is not to catch the highest number of speeding motorists. The aim is to reduce speeding in areas of the most concern and to remind drivers they are entering that zone. The residents of Blythburgh are very supportive and say they have noticed a difference, and that’s the main thing.
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“They have noticed speeding reduces when Speedwatch volunteers are standing there.”
Mrs Last said the volunteers fully endorsed Suffolk Constabulary’s aim to get drivers to slow down, as speed kills.
She said figures showed one fatal accident in 10 was caused by excessive speeding.
Police also said the Suffolk Speedwatch initiative had been a success since its launch.
A force spokesman said: “The Speedwatch initiative has grown in popularity since its launch in 2009, with a focus on providing a visual deterrent, and educating speeding drivers to slow down through our communities.
“It allows members of the community to become directly involved with road safety, working alongside parish councils and Suffolk Constabulary. Speeding is an ongoing concern among residents, and the scheme aims to reduce the number of drivers who exceed the limit.
“It also aims to re-educate drivers about the hazards of speeding and address other road safety issues.”
For information about Speedwatch call 01473 613500 and ask for the Safer Neighbourhood Team.