Speedwatch is a national scheme enabling rural and urban residents to monitor traffic speeds within their community. The scheme is co-ordinated by Gwent Police, it is managed and run by Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Community Volunteers.
The scheme is a community led initiative which aims to educate drivers to the dangers of exceeding the mandatory speed limits up to 40mph. Community Volunteers are trained by, and operate alongside Police Officers or Community Support Officers.
The St Arvans Community Speedwatch Group came into existence from a questionnaire delivered to every house in St Arvans village and the surrounding area within the boundary of St Arvans. From this questionnaire, several important points were raised by the residents - one being that of road safety. From this particular concern it was decided to form a Road Safety Group, primarily to monitor the speed of vehicles through the village - hence the St Arvans Community Speedwatch Group was formed in July of 2015.
Community Speed Watch (CSW) is a locally driven initiative where active members of the community join together with the support of the Police to monitor speeds of vehicles using speed detection devices. Vehicles exceeding the speed limit are recorded and their registrations confirmed, they are then referred to the Police with the aim of educating drivers to reduce their speeds.
Drivers are not prosecuted or penalties issued, if they are detected exceeding the observed limit, by the CSW Group. The Police will write to the registered keeper of the vehicle confirming the time, and place of the speed infringement.
How does the scheme operate?
Community Speedwatch operates on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or below. Community Volunteers work alongside Gwent Police officers or Community Support Officers to identify vehicles exceeding the speed limit.
Roadside volunteers are issued with high-visibility jackets, roadside signs and speed detection equipment, the volunteers are trained to use the equipment and record the information. They generally work in a team with a minimum of three volunteers. A minimum of 6 volunteers are required to set up a scheme.
If a vehicle is seen exceeding the speed limit the registration number will be taken down and verified by the volunteers. The details are then entered onto a database from which a letter is automatically produced informing the registered owner that their vehicle has been noted to have exceeded the speed limit. The letter also points out the dangers of exceeding the speed limit and the risks to other road users, be they drivers or pedestrians. However should an offending vehicle be observed exceeding the speed limit a third time, they are once again written to by the Police with a warning that further action can be taken.
Local officers will select the locations based on community concerns and suggestions. All locations will be risk assessed by a trained officer or staff member.
St ArvansnCSW held it's first training session in the autumn of 2015. There were 6 volunteers present for the training session, which was taken by Sgt Steve Parsons of Gwent Police.
The equipment used comprises;
a hand-held Doppler RADAR speed detection gun
a tripod mounted electronic speed display sign, displaying the vehicles speed as detected by the gun
folding signs to indicate a warning to the drivers that speed monitoring is taking place
a battery pack to power the equipment
high visibility jackets, and identity badges
Three locations have been selected about the village; two on the A466 and one on Devauden Road. Each of these locations were risk assessed by Sgt Parsons, during the initial training session. Locations have been selected from concerns generated by village residents, more locations will be added to the inititial three as and when the Community Support and Police Officers have risk-assessed them.
The frequency of speed detection sessions is as yet to be fully determind, but initial thoughts are a session once or twice every week. This initial high frequency is thought to deter vehicles as drivers perceve there is a community speed monitoring group active in the St Arvans area. It's thought that the frequency can be reduced as drivers become more aware of the group's activites. The availability of volunteers will be a determining factor on the frequency - the more volunteers - the better.
Currently there are six volunteers co-ordinated by Ian Whitford a Trustee of The St Arvans Community Plan Steering Group. The other volunteers are:
Barrie Howells, Jim Mitchell, Stanford Llewellyn, Richard Lott and David Finlay.
We are activly seeking more volunteers to help in Speedwatch. If you feel you can help and would like to be involved, please contact the co-ordinator Ian Whitford on firstname.lastname@example.org
The process is quite simple, it involves completing three assessment / application forms for submission to the Police Authority. After satisfactory checks have been made, which normally takes about six weeks, an identification badge is issued to the user, they will then be given on the job training in the use of the equipment.
Residents have highlighted that litter and dog fouling are issues that need to be addressed in the village. In response new dog litter bins have been provided by the Community Council and a litter picking group supported by 'Keep Wales Tidy' has been established. The litter pickers will be seen springing into action shortly.