Volunteers making our roads safer

Volunteers making our roads safer

Organised by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, in partnership with Community Speedwatch UK, speedwatch groups in the Thames Valley are provided with a starter kit on a loan basis, including a speed detection device, to help volunteers assist in the battle against speeding motorists.

Community teams will undergo a number of training sessions online, alongside police risk assessments to ensure their safety at the roadside.

One of our speedwatch groups was filmed for a vlog as part of Project Edward (Every Day Without a Road Death) and we stopped by to get to know our volunteers a bit better.
Community Speedwatch
Eric has been volunteering for about six years now and met fellow volunteer, John, at a meeting of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
“As an advanced motorist we’re all aware that speed is a major contributor to road collisions and deaths, and if by standing by the road in a high-vis vest we can do something to prevent that then we’re doing a worthwhile job.”
The camera that Eric’s group uses can pick up cars approximately 50m down the road, and had previously caught someone overtaking at 56mph in a 30mph limit.
Over his six years, Eric has seen a noticeable decrease in speeds since starting speedwatch, with one stretch of road having 40+ speeders in an hour – more recently this was down to 12, illustrating the impact this initiative is having. He recognises the group’s work protects the people who live in the local area:

“You’re not going to slow everyone down, but we are able to educate those people who are speeding because they’re not paying attention.”

Motorists spotted exceeding the speed limit by our volunteers are sent a letter to make them aware of their speed, while drivers displaying particularly excessive speed may receive a visit from a Roads Policing officer to remind them of their responsibilities on the road.
John has been volunteering since 2016 where he used to go out with Community Speedwatch Coordinator, PC Lee Turnham – having first joined the initiative after a community officer suggested he take part. He estimates the group have spotted around 1300 speeders since the start of the year over just three days each month.

He knows their work is having an impact with the data showing speeding traffic in Hazlemere has gone down from 15% (and on one occasion 29%) to closer to 5%.

John had worked for Phillips in Sales and Marketing, and thinks he must have driven at least 800,000 mile in that time. In retirement he wasn’t initially looking for a volunteering role, but the encouragement of the local officer helped him get into it, and he has since become good friends with the other police service volunteers.

So what would John say to someone considering giving up their time to take part in an initiative like Community Speedwatch?

“There is a role that the public can play in making a difference. If you’ve retired and feel that you want to do something for your community, there is a role for you here.”

If you have been inspired by this, or any of the other stories of our volunteers, take a look at our vacancies portal for available opportunities which are updated regularly.