A new form of neighbourhood watch is underway in Dorset for communities concerned about speeding vehicles.

Community Speed Watch (CSW) gives local people the opportunity to get actively involved in road safety.

Speed Watch can be set up in villages, towns or urban areas to discourage drivers and motorcyclists from speeding. Dorset Police Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) liaison officers can assist groups in setting up by providing practical advice and support.

Like other watch schemes, Community Speed Watch groups are set up and run by volunteers – there are currently 12 groups in Dorset.

Community Speed Watch groups use hand held devices to record and monitor details of motorists seen speeding and can also note drivers using a mobile phone or not wearing seat belts. The police then send warning letters to these motorists.

Acting Assistant Chief Constable Martin Hiles said: “Through our neighbourhood Partners And Communities Together (PACT) panels we have seen a real appetite from communities to get involved in road safety in their areas. Community Speed Watch is a great opportunity to harness this support and turn it into positive action.

“Road safety remains a Force priority and one of our aims, particularly through our hugely successful ‘no excuse’ campaign, has been to educate the public and change driver behaviour and Community Speed Watch very much supports that.

“As well as drivers receiving a warning letter about their driving behaviour, the information provided to us by groups enables our traffic officers, safer neighbourhood teams and Dorset Road Safe to identify problem areas and repeat speeders against whom we will take further action if necessary.

“It also supports the continued work of the Dorset Road Safe partnership by focusing on the ‘fatal four’ elements in road traffic collisions – speeding, driver distractions, not wearing a seat belt and drink driving.

“We are very grateful for the support of our communities and look forward to the continued development of Community Speed Watch in Dorset.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, said: “I am delighted to see Community Speed Watch come to Dorset. Speeding is a concern in most towns and villages and although regular checks are conducted in the county, this initiative empowers communities to work together with the police to make their neighbourhoods safer.”

The Association of Dorset Watches is working together with Dorset Police to manage the provision of kits to groups. These kits include a speed measuring device, hi-vis jackets, signage to inform road users they are in a CSW area and a tally counter to record the number of vehicles passing through.

Chairman of the Association of Dorset Watches, John Shave MBE, said: “Community Speed Watch is great news for towns and villages across Dorset where speeding is an issue. It gives affected communities the ability to influence driver behaviour in their areas and support the police.”

If you wish to participate in Community Speed Watch, please contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team to find out if a scheme already exists or to initiate the set-up of a new scheme. Visit www.dorset.police.uk for more information and Safer Neighbourhood Team contact details.

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