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Community Speedwatch Newsletter – Good News!

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

In April, we wrote of a potential paradigm shift in operation of Community Speedwatch within Thames Valley, with the potential to transform the perception and management of community volunteers’ involvement with road safety.

Fresh Start for Community Speedwatch in Thames Valley

A pilot scheme was being launched to trial a new system, supporting and training volunteers, as well as capturing data in order to better analyse data for potential police activity. The scheme was expected to be trialled in locations in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire over a six-month period and, if successful, would become the model for all community speedwatch schemes in the Thames Valley.

The new Community Speedwatch newsletter reports that, following a successful trials period, the new platform will now be rolled out across Thames Valley within the next 3 months. From 1st October, Thames Valley Police will slowly migrate users of the old system onto the new platform, on an LPA (Local Policing Area) by LPA basis. No news yet on when Chiltern & South Bucks’ turn will come, but doubtless this will follow.

The scheme hitting its targets reflects active oversight by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, ownership by the Thames Valley Police/Hampshire Constabulary Joint Operations Unit and a dedicated TVP resource in the person of Community Speedwatch coordinator PC Lee Turnham. And technology which has proved effective.

Key points include:

  • A new partnership with Community Speedwatch UK, a not-for-profit social enterprise that provides support for speedwatch schemes.
  • New speedwatch groups will be able to borrow speed detection equipment and devices for the first 6 months, but will be expected to purchase their equipment eventually..
  • CSW patrols can be arranged directly by members, and not have to wait for coordination with Police Officers/PCSOs.
  • Data captured in a CSW session can be uploaded directly to the network, and automated letters sent out to the registered keeper of a speeding vehicle.
  • Commonly formatted data shared nationwide, to highlight repeated offenders across a number of areas
  • FREE roadside insurance offered by Thames Valley Police for schemes signing a service level agreement and undergoing necessary training. The cost of public liability insurance has been an obstacle for smaller schemes.
  • CSW is now to be overseen from the Police & Crime Commissioner’s office.
  • An experienced and dedicated lead, PC Lee Turnham, based in Amersham Police Station.

Our surveys show every time that speeding is one of the main concerns of residents across the Chiltern & South Bucks Local Policing Area (LPA). We look forward to further announcements to clarify when our turn will come, as well as more detailed information on setting up new schemes and migrating existing ones.

This certainly seems like a democratisation of the process, putting more power into the hands of concerned communities. It will be a matter of seeing how many schemes and volunteers come forward. CSW cannot drive prosecutions per se. It is an ‘educational’ tool, which through its information gathering, can identify hot-spots and persistent offenders to focus police activity. But by making schemes more flexible, and addressing previous frustrations and impediments, CSW volunteers should feel more confident of the worth of the time they invest.

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