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Community speedwatch going from strength to strength in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 20:57 07 September 2011

A community speedwatch volunteer using a speed gun.

A community speedwatch volunteer using a speed gun.

Archant © 2010

A campaign to crack down on speeding motorists is going from strength to strength after recruiting more than 600 volunteers.

Launched in Norfolk in 2007, Community Speedwatch teams, who are trained how to use speed guns, have helped detect 9,813 offences in the county, many of which have resulted in warnings for drivers who break the speed limit.

Currently, there are 49 speedwatch teams covering the county, including Hellesdon and Thorpe St Andrew, with another nine waiting to be trained or vetted – which would take the total to 58 teams which are made up of a minimum of three volunteers.

Last month Community Speedwatch was boosted by a one-off road safety investment from Norfolk County Council of £100,000 which has enabled teams to acquire SAM (Speed Awareness Message) signs.

The mobile sign is activated by passing vehicles to remind drivers and riders in Norfolk about the dangers of excessive and inappropriate speed.

The speed detection signs are set up to face a road and the speed limit is programmed in accordingly.

If the speed of a vehicle is below the speed limit the device shows a smiley face symbol and the actual speed that the vehicle is travelling. If a vehicle is detected as travelling above the speed limit, then the actual speed will be displayed on the sign as the vehicle passes.

Although motorists caught speeding by speedwatch volunteers cannot be prosecuted, they do receive a warning letter. If someone is caught offending a second time action can be taken by the police.

David McLauglin, Safety Camera Partnership manager for Norfolk, said: “It’s (Community Speedwatch) still a very valuable tool in getting people to change their driving behaviour to a more appropriate level of speed. It’s really effective to get a letter from your community, or a community that you’re passing through – it gives you a wake-up call. It’s a nice way of saying to people just have a think about what you’re doing without any punitive measures. We’re very pleased with how things are going.”

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