Barley speed watch volunteer quits after verbal abuse

Regular speed checks are carried out around rural Hertfordshire.

Regular speed checks are carried out around rural Hertfordshire. - Credit: Archant

A member of a volunteer group which carries out checks to help police catch speeding motorists has resigned to due concerns over how he was treated.

Nick White, who was a member of the Barley DriveSafe team, said he often experienced abuse from drivers and was once sworn at.

Nick said: “It’s not great when you feel like you stand at the road like a bunch of idiots with no support. Certain people don’t like us doing it.”

Sergeant Guy Westwood from the Royston Safer Neighbourhood Team said Nick’s experience of verbal abuse is not isolated.

He said: “I have had reports that some motorists are abusing the volunteers, and being rude towards them.

“This is clearly not acceptable. The volunteers are merely trying to make people slow down and think about their speed to help prevent accidents. I feel they do a very important job in supporting us, and any offences against them will not be tolerated – further action will be taken.”

Nick, who works as a plumber, also said he was concerned with the way recorded speeds were followed up by police in the past.

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He said: “I resigned due to a lack of support. The speed watch is effective to a limit, but the follow up is not there.

“To me it seems like a good idea that isn’t workable. We were not being backed up before.”

However, Nick said he felt pleased with the way the Royston Safer Neighbourhood Team, led by Sgt Westwood, seem to be proactive in tackling the issue.

He said: “At the moment the police are making the right noises. They seem to be pretty good. It’s taken 10 years to get to this stage. I saw them out and about the other day. If they are training people up it’s quite a step up.”

The vehicle speed data from each DriveSafe group is sent to the police and crime commissioner’s officer, where it is sorted and letters are generated and sent out.

Sgt Westwood added: “My team and I will always support the DriveSafe groups.”

Last week the Royston Safer Neighbourhood Team went out with firefighters to carry out speed enforcement, using a speed indication device and hand held laser speed detection device.