Concerns over pilot speed watch scheme

A PARISH council has expressed concerns about a pilot scheme targeting speeding drivers.

Hertfordshire Police are looking to launch the Community Speed Watch initiative across Hertfordshire, and want to pilot it in North Herts.

It involves members of the public standing on the side of the road with speed monitoring equipment, and noting down the details of any vehicle that is driving too fast. The owner of the vehicle would then receive a letter from police warning them about their conduct.

Cllr Bob Davidson, chairman of Barkway parish council, attended a presentation on the scheme at Police headquarters in Welwyn Garden City.

He said: “Speeding is an issue in the village, but as a parish council we’re not in favour of the package as it is being offered.

“We are only being given the choice of one supplier for the equipment, which costs around �2,500. Without being able to shop around to get the best price I’m not sure we could commit to spending that sort of money.

“Councils in other areas of the country have been able to hire the equipment, but this isn’t a service which is offered by the firm Herts Police would want us to use.”

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Cllr Davidson added that the scheme, as proposed by Police in Crow Country, requires three volunteers to be on duty at any time, whereas other areas of the country can use patrols of two.

“Having to find three people per patrol would obviously make it harder to get enough volunteers,” he said.

Royston town council could also implement the scheme, and will receive a briefing from police at a forthcoming meeting.

Cllr Peter Burt, who attended the presentation at police headquarters, described it as a “very positive initiative”.

However, Cllr Robert Inwood said: “In principle it sounds great, but we need to know more about the costs involved. We need to know that we can afford it.”

A spokesman for Herts Police said: “We are looking at the possibility of launching Community Speed Watch across Hertfordshire and at the moment, are just looking at piloting it with volunteers in North Herts.

“At this time, we are exploring the possibilities and have proposed that the use of non-confrontational equipment as a tool to educate motorists would be appropriate.

“We have suggested at this stage that a particular supplier may be an option as they appear to be able to provide the most appropriate package,” she said.

She added that the force are “exploring other options” and said: “We will feedback other alternatives as and when they come to light.”