The scheme is a partnership between Cheshire Police and the Weston & Basford Parish Council and volunteers are trained to use a speed indicator device which displays a vehicle’s speed. The registered owner of any vehicle recorded as exceeding the speed limit is sent a letter by the local neighbourhood policing team, advising them that speeding is unacceptable to the local community and of the potential consequences of any future offence
Speeds can be measured of vehicles travelling towards (a) or away from (b) the operator
Our local Community Speedwatch Scheme started in November 2008 and we currently operate from 9 approved locations throughout the parish (4 in Weston, 2 in Basford and 3 in Englesea Brook) Sessions usually last about 1 hour and can be at any time of any day during daylight hours.
Detailed records have been kept over the last 3¼ years and during that time we’ve recorded 16,448 incidents where the drivers have been exceeding the marked speed limits, excessively abusive to volunteers or using mobile phones whilst driving. We’ve reported to Cheshire Police the details of 4,259 of those vehicles. Cautionary letters are sent to the vehicles’ registered owners, repeat offenders are targeted by the police and, if they are local residents, personal visits might be made to their homes.
Not surprisingly, these are our busiest locations, especially those on Main Road. Over the last 3¼ years, there have been 198 Speedwatch sessions recording over 12,800 speeding vehicles of which 3,334 have been reported. In other words, there’s a vehicle driving through the village in excess of the 30mph speed limit every 58 seconds!
These results from our recordings have supported the parish’s successful safety campaign for more signs, clearer road markings and crossings for pedestrians. The reviews of these recent highway changes are still being carried out by Cheshire East Council and Cheshire Police.
Weston Lane provides a link between Shavington and Weston and is also used by many drivers as an alternative route to and from junction 16 of the M6 motorway. Our Speedwatch volunteers and those from our neighbouring parish of Shavington operate from different locations along Weston Lane and it can be frightening to see the speed at which some vehicles travel along the narrow stretch between Back Lane and Larch Avenue. Over the last 3¼ years, there have been 54 Speedwatch sessions and 614 vehicles have been reported.
The speed limit through Englesea Brook was set at 40 mph, which was regarded by most residents as far too fast for the narrow, hedge-lined roads here. It is not surprising that our recordings did not show a significant number of vehicles exceeding the figure of 40mph and after 20 sessions, only 48 offenders had been reported.
The campaign to get a further reduction in the limit was finally successful and since the 16th January 2012, a lower limit of 30 mph has been in force. After the New Year, it was hoped that we would increase our team numbers with more residents from Englesea Brook but nobody else has volunteered. For the past few months, our Speedwatch efforts have been concentrated on Englesea Brook to ensure that drivers adhere to this lower figure. After another 17 sessions, 205 vehicles have been reported to the police! Two new "Community Speedwatch" signs have been installed (one at each end of Englesea Brook Lane) and it is hoped that these visual warnings will help to improve the situation.
Fastest speed was recorded at 6.05am on 23rd July 2010 - a VW Golf travelling at 67mph!
Busiest single session was on 28th July 2011 when we reported 57 vehicles!
On 23rd May 2012, with the support of Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, we held our second "Driver Engagement Day". On this occasion, our volunteers, operating on Main Road, Weston, were accompanied by police officers and looking out for offenders who were speeding, using mobile phones, eating or drinking whilst driving, not using safety-belts or driving in any other fashion which might have appeared to be potentially dangerous. Any "offenders" were stopped and spoken to by a police officer and given the options of either being served with a warning letter and entered onto the police database or visiting Crewe Fire Station, where they were shown a DVD with graphic details, which highlighted the potential dangers and consequences of speeding or dangerous driving. Not surprisingly, most drivers chose the second option and, hopefully, learned a valuable lesson!
Over the last few months, the number of active volunteers has reduced for various reasons – illness, work, family and other commitments, and we need more volunteers to share the Speedwatch duties.The team members do not stop or have any contact with the speeding vehicle or driver. Training takes place at Crewe Police Station and takes only half an hour or so. If you would like to undergo training and become part of our team, please contact either Tom Longstaff (01270 256391) or Steve Edgar (01270 588737) for further details.