Missendens Community Speedwatch meeting – report
Thursday, November 9th, 2023
Thank you to the 60 or so residents who attended the ‘Let’s Talk About Speeding’ meeting on Tuesday 7th November at Great Misenden Memorial Centre.
Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber has taken an active role in facilitating improvements to the Community Speedwatch scheme. We were pleased that he accepted our invitation to introduce the discussion. He also spoke on his ‘Crimefighters’ strategy to strengthen Neighbourhood Policing and improve public contact and confidence.
A PDF (27.6MB) of the Crimefighters strategy can be downloaded here.
Police and Crime Commissioner on Policing Improvements
Among subjects touched on by Mr Barber were:
- The continued poor reputation of 101 reporting. Partly this is because, once connected, it takes 16 minutes to gather full details of a crime by phone. For non-urgent 101 calls, phoning at different times of the day or reporting online are options.
- Technology, digital solutions and social platforms are being explored for better contact management (including 101), as well as to enhance wider public engagement and intelligence gathering. But he acknowledged the paramount need for security.
- The need to recognise the changing nature of policing with the increase of cyber crime and fraud, the greater recognition of domestic abuse, and introduction of child abuse units.
- Force manning – there are more police than ever in Thames Valley Police (5034 at last year-end), and numbers of Neighbourhood Police officers are planned to double through 2024, as the Force rebalances to give Neighbourhood Policing greater prominence.
- The need for intelligence, to enable proactive policing and crime prevention. Members of the public are encouraged always to report incidents so that the police can build up a picture and target patrols where needed.
PC Lee Turnham on Community Speedwatch
PC Lee Turnham, TVP lead on Community Speedwatch (CSW), and Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant Darren Walsh, represented Thames Valley Police. PC Turnham presented the relaunched CSW. The reason this meeting was called was to explain the improvements of the relaunched Community Speedwatch scheme, and how residents and communities can play their part in making their roads safer.
There are currently nearly 2,000 recorded volunteers in the TVP Force area across 270 schemes, though fewer than 100 schemes were active last month. Volunteers measure traffic speeds and log offenders into the database. PC Turnham stressed that it is an educational tool, with no powers of prosecution. All offenders are sent a letter. Nearly 50,000 letters were sent out last year; with 95% not having had to receive a second letter, the system does seem to be effective as a deterrent and warning. If a person gets three letters they are visited by a police officer who begins the ‘intervention process’ (a talk and videos). The data is now collated as part of a national system so repeat offenders can be tracked.
How Residents can get involved
Paul Egan, leader of the Prestwood and Great Missenden Speedwatch group, was on hand to answer practical questions about Speedwatch in our area. In addition to joining existing Speedwatch groups, anyone can set up a group on their road, subject to having sufficient volunteers who have completed the brief training, and approved locations. New groups can be loaned necessary equipment (speed gun, high visibility vests, etc.).
If you are prepared to give some time towards deterring speeding and antisocial drivers, there is no longer any confusion about who to contact – go to www.communityspeedwatch.org.
To join an EXISTING scheme, go to the website, click ‘Register’ and then select ‘join an existing group’. Then from drop-down lists, select ‘Thames Valley’, ‘Buckinghamshire’, and then look for a scheme in your area. You will be invited to provide personal details and then undergo induction training. This consists of 6 2-minute videos, with questions, and a summary video at the end. On completion, a scheme coordinator will receive your details and get in touch.
If there are no suitable groups in your locality, you can apply to set up a new one. Many groups are initiated by local community or parish councils, or referrals from local authorities, but there is no barrier to concerned individuals taking a lead. After clicking ‘Register’, and ‘Thames Valley’, you will be prompted to email PC Turnham at Thames Valley Police, who will assist in assessing proposed locations and setting the scheme up.
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