23 November 2012

Focus on... Speed Watch and Specials

At Kent Police, we take the issue of speeding motorists very seriously. Where there is a problem, our officers work around the clock to educate and inform people driving inappropriately, to ensure all road users stay safe.

Local people can get involved in deterring and educating motorists who travel through their community, by volunteering as part of the Speed Watch scheme.
On Thursday there was a Speed Watch all out day, the first of its kind across Kent.

A day in the life of…

Malcolm Buller
Local resident and Staplehurst Speed Watch team leader

'I’ve been involved in Speed Watch since it started nearly six years ago and run the Staplehurst Speed Watch team which has operated for more than five years.

Staplehurst is a large parish so has 10 Speed Watch sites which have been approved for us to use by the police. Safety of both the Speed Watch volunteers and motorists is very important so the sites have to be checked to make sure we’re not causing a hazard or likely to get hurt.

During a Speed Watch, we’ll use the electronic board and scanner to monitor speeds and then take a note of vehicles travelling over nationally-recommended speed thresholds. At our most recent Speed Watch, we recorded 34 speeding vehicles in two-and-a-half hours. We noted one driver travelling at 51 miles per hour through the 30 mile an hour zone!

Vehicle details are then added to a central database and Kent Police send warning letters to repeat offenders.

Today we’ve had Specials Inspector Derek May with us, issuing tickets to motorists he measured speeding.
As well as helping to deter speeding, we’re also a visible presence in the community. We had a local resident stop today to say what a good idea Speed Watch in their community is.

Check out pictures from the day on the Kent Police Flickr site.

Guy Rollinson
Speed Watch co-ordinator for Kent Police

‘Speed Watch really helps to educate drivers about their speed and make our communities safer. Speed Watch allows  residents to accurately establish and then directly have an impact on the severity of speeding on their local roads - a frequent source of complaint in some of our communities.

‘To set up a scheme near you, you only need the support of one other motivated citizen, and access to a speed indication device. This can often by facilitated through a recognised community group such as the local parish council or residents’ association. Typically the Speed Watch schemes each have between five and fifteen active members. Kent has around 70 active Speed Watches and this number is increasing. We risk assess suitable Speed Watch sites nearby and give all volunteers safety awareness training which usually takes about one hour.

'Then it's down to you how often and for how long you are active at the roadside. The owners of vehicles you detect speeding then receive warning letters and advice from Kent Police.

‘You can find out more about Speed Watch on our website.'

Hear more from Guy.

Specials Inspector Derek May
'Longest serving uniformed officer at Kent Police'

‘I’m attached specifically to the Roads Policing Unit and work with our regular colleagues to respond to calls and collisions. I also get involved in dealing with speeding issues. Today I’ve been out with the Speed Watch teams in Larkfield, Staplehurst and Teston.

‘Speed Watch volunteers are helping us identify where speeding is an issue across the county so that my officers and I can patrol key areas and take action against motorists driving illegally.

If you are interested in becoming a Special at Kent Police, find out more on our website.

Steve Horton
Kent County Council

‘Have you been found speeding recently? If so, you might be offered the chance to take part in a speed awareness course instead of paying a fine and getting points.

Run by Kent County Council, the theory-based course is offered to people caught speeding within a certain threshold.

Steve Horton from Kent County Council explains: ‘The course focuses on educating drivers. It’s a chance to challenge people’s habits and give them tools to help them stay within the speed limit in the future.’

Motorists take part in role plays and activities to test their perception of their driving and awareness while on the road.

The course is not a soft option – those caught speeding can only take part in one course every three years. Otherwise they pay the fine and get points. The cost of taking part in the course is more than the fine. Participants must show a positive attitude and willingness to take part during the session otherwise they could still face receiving the fine and points.

Feedback has been really positive and in the past seven months (April to Nov 2012), 18,821 people have taken part in a speed awareness course.’  

Hear more from Steve.

See also:

Don't forget to watch a replay of yesterday's online chat. Inspector Geoff Wood answered your questions about policing on Kent's roads.

ADVICE: Check our our driving and road safety advice on our website.

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