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Restart and relaunch for Community Speedwatch in 2021

Speeding traffic is a regular and emotive concern for communities across Thames Valley and a pilot scheme being announced today is set to help tackle the problem.

Volunteers from across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire are on hold currently due to lockdown regulations. As the restrictions are being lifted, local community groups will be able to resume their speedwatch activities as soon as possible but this is only the first step in a revolution in roads safety across Thames Valley.

Thanks to a new partnership with Community Speedwatch online, the not-for-profit social enterprise that provides a platform for speedwatch schemes. Thames Valley, following a successful pilot period, will consolidate the partnership thus taking a major step forward in the way we tackle and improve road safety.

When restrictions are lifted, schemes will be able to restart their former activity to keep their communities safe by checking for speeding vehicles. At the same time, a pilot scheme will be launched to trial a new system, supporting and training volunteers, as well as capturing the data for community speedwatch in order to better analyse data for potential police activity

Beginning with one pilot in Buckinghamshire, the scheme is then expected to be trialled in other locations across Oxfordshire and Berkshire over a six-month period and, if successful, will become the model for all community speedwatch schemes in the Thames Valley.

Championed by the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner, new speedwatch groups will have the opportunity to borrow speed detection equipment and devices, helping volunteers to assist in the battle against speeding motorists.

Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said:

“I’m really excited about this new scheme and the additional support that we can provide to volunteers. Cutting speeding across Thames Valley can save lives and a strong community-led speedwatch scheme can make a real difference.

“Not only will the new scheme provide better backing for volunteers, comprehensive training, and new equipment, but it will also feed information directly into the police.

“Persistent offenders and hotspot locations can then be followed up for police enforcement. Together we can make our streets safer.”

PC Lee Turnham, Thames Valley Police Community Speedwatch Co-ordinator, said:

“Speedwatch has proven in the past to be a deterrent. People drive slower through areas as a result of community speed watch initiatives. The new platform will hopefully provide a community-led approach to reducing excess speed, allowing activity to be community driven.

“This exciting collaboration with Community Speedwatch Online will aim to reduce speed and make our roads safer within Thames Valley."

Jan Jung from Community Speedwatch UK said:

“We are delighted to welcome TVP to the online platform. The area is strategically important to the joined-up Speedwatch organisation not only because it is a highly active commuter belt, but also because it is the gateway between the north and south.

“The road network across the three counties consists predominantly of narrow rural roads where way too many vehicles speed dangerously through villages without concern for the residents’ safety or well-being.

“We appreciate that the police cannot be everywhere all the time, but the public can. And that is exactly where the strength of well-organised Community Speedwatch steps in to play a vital role.

“Matthew Barber approached us a year ago already to organise Speedwatch in Thames Valley. From the beginning, Matthew supported the principle of sharing data with all other participating police forces to tackle the problem more widely, but he also appreciated that CSW Online provides bespoke administrative tools that make the volunteers’ invested efforts worthwhile.”

Before community teams can be deployed to the roadside, they will undergo a number of training sessions, both online and at roadside, to ensure risk assessments have been completed and protocols have been adhered to.

The new online platform allows group-related activities to be self-regulated via an online calendar and also provides vehicle make recognition training. DVLA pre-checks logged registration numbers for authenticity before automatically passing data on to the police for further processing.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Further information on the Community Speedwatch scheme can be found at: https://www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/speedwatch/.