Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa says he has taken action on public concerns over speeding - pledging additional funding to expand community speed monitoring across all corners of the county.
The Commissioner, who recently announced the addition of two new full-time posts to coordinate and manage the county's Community Speed Watch (CSW) programme, has now revealed funding for 20 new ‘grab bags' containing speed monitoring equipment, which will be deployed to all policing units in Derbyshire.
Speeding remains the most frequently raised issue in all of Derbyshire's towns, villages and neighbourhoods.
Acting on the concerns raised during the PCC's countywide D383 tour, Mr Dhindsa has pledged to expand CSW and make it easier for local people to proactively address problems in their villages and neighbourhoods to reduce road traffic collisions.
The PCC has already agreed to fund a CSW Coordinator and CSW Administrator for two years at a cost of £110k, and is now boosting the scheme further by funding 20 new grab bags - two per local policing unit - for the county at a cost of £8,106. The bags contain high visibility jackets, handheld radar and signage to equip residents to undertake their own checks.
The move will not replace intelligence-led enforcement activity by police officers or the Force's safety camera team but provides additional opportunities for the public to influence and contribute to the education of motorists while making their neighbourhoods safer.
"Speeding is by far the biggest problem and concern facing our villages and neighbourhoods," explained Mr Dhindsa.
"I've listened to what many people have told me during my tour and will be giving communities the tools they need to help change driver habits and make an impact on road safety.
"The aim is not to catch as many speeders as possible but to reduce speed in areas of concern and make drivers aware that their actions have consequences on local communities.
"Community Speed Watch has played a valuable role in promoting road safety for many years now and I'm delighted to support the expansion of the project for the benefit of all our communities."
CSW is an initiative designed to harness public support for neighbourhood policing by encouraging volunteers to undertake speed monitoring checks in areas of concern, verifying and recording the registration numbers of offending vehicles.
Details of vehicles are then forwarded to Derbyshire Constabulary's Casualty Reduction Enforcement Support Team (CREST) which conducts appropriate checks and issues a letter to the registered keeper asking for their cooperation by reducing speed in their community.
A maximum of three letters will be sent to offenders, two by post and the third hand- delivered by a member of Derbyshire Constabulary.
The initiative supports the wider road safety work of the PCC, Derbyshire Constabulary, the County and City Councils and parish councils.
Neil Carter, Community Speed Watch Coordinator with Derbyshire Constabulary's Casualty Reduction Enforcement Support Team, said CSW had served as an excellent community engagement tool for the police, giving communities an opportunity to become actively involved in making their roads safer.
"The funding has allowed significant progress to be made in building on the sound foundations already in place," he said.
"The newly appointed CSW Co-Ordinator and Administrator have worked closely with Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT), in-force experts, established CSW volunteers and surrounding forces to devise robust policies and training packages. These have been designed to provide maximum levels of support and guidance to police officers, PCSOs and volunteers.
"Aided by a centralised computer system designed solely for the co-ordination and administration of CSW, Derbyshire Constabulary has revamped the initiative. They have worked closely with existing groups and created new ones. In so doing they have managed to release many of the administrative burdens of CSW from frontline resources, leaving them to focus on other valuable community issues, including day-to-day policing.
"The health and safety of CSW volunteers and all other road users is a primary consideration. Training is currently being delivered across Derbyshire to all CSW volunteers. This training is aimed at keeping everyone safe and providing a corporate CSW model, one that is consistent across the whole force area.
"The ultimate intention is educate drivers and change their behaviour when travelling through Derbyshire communities. This will go a long way to reducing speed, improving road safety and reducing the number of people either killed or seriously injured as a result of road traffic collisions."
Marion Russell, a Community Speed Watch volunteer in Littleover, added: "Speeding continues to be of great concern within our area. We are a proactive team of volunteers helping to improve road safety for local residents in our community.
"Our aim is to reduce the speed of vehicles (drive within the speed limit) and raise awareness of speeding vehicles. We are out and about in the community on a weekly basis all year round. We are very visible at different locations within our area working closely with the Police and CREST.
"I personally volunteer as I want to help make a positive difference in the community and help make our area a safer place to live."