Speeding is a persistent and increasing problem in our parish, as in many other areas around the country. Measures to address the problem range from physical traffic calming (speed bumps, buildouts, chicanes, etc.) through actions to change driver behaviour with police enforcement and driver prosecution as a final step.
The Speedwatch Program, in partnership with the police, is designed to identify speeding motorists and change their behaviour through education. It stops short of enforcement and prosecution which is the sole prerogative of the police. However, motorists recorded exceeding the speed limit receive a warning letter from the police, details of their offence are included on the police national database, and serious or repeat offenders can expect a home visit from the police. Thames Valley Police (TVP) operate their own scheme which partially integrates with the multi-area implementation.
The system works by public spirited members of the community monitoring and recording offences at the roadside using equipment supplied by the parish council” and procedures laid down by the police. Monitoring sessions require a minimum of 2 persons, typically last ~1 hour, and are scheduled at traffic hotspots. In Swallowfield we use a radar based traffic camera which records a short video of each vehicle exceeding a preset speed threshold. Results can be viewed offline and are subsequently uploaded to a police database for follow-up action.
In Swallowfield Parish we currently have two subgroups, one in each of Swallowfield village and Riseley Village. Sessions are held primarily during morning or evening rush hours throughout daylight hours and with good visibility. Between May and October last year, more than 1300 offences were recorded in our parish, the bulk of these on the Odiham and Basingstoke roads in Riseley. The high offence rate in Riseley has resulted in frequent visits by police enforcement teams, who can and do issue notices of intended prosecution.
A Speedwatch session is not demanding and it’s rarely boring. Rather, in addition to serving your community, you get to make new friends and chat about common interests. There is is no fixed schedule and no pressure to participate more often than you would like. However, the more Speedwatchers we have, the lower the demand on anyone's time.
If you would be interested in contributing to the welfare of our community, please consider joining our group. Full training is provided, both online and at the roadside, and it’s not arduous! Ladies and gentlemen are all welcome. To progress your interest, or for further information, please contact one of our 3 Speedwatch coordinators:
- Ian Fullerton - Ian.email@example.com
- Simon Taylor (Swallowfield Village) - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mike Goldsmith (Riseley) - email@example.com
Speedwatch is the only traffic calming measure that Swallowfield Parish Council can take without the authority, funding and support of the local Highways Authority, in this case Wokingham Borough Council. We need your support to help improve the safety of our community. If you have read this far, please consider joining our team.