Community Speed Watch (CSW) is a volunteer programme run by Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire County Council. It enables local people to be actively involved in reducing speeding in their community.
Volunteer groups are given training and equipment to enable them to operate roadside speed monitoring patrols in their area over a six-week period on a week on, week off basis.
Roadside speed monitoring activities are carried out between February and October. These are organised geographically so groups can share the speed monitoring equipment, with the time of year each group has it rotated to keep things fair. Groups are able to apply to use the equipment more than once a year.
Drivers detected as speeding by CSW receive a police warning letter and their records are held to identify any repeat offenders. Anyone detected three or more times will be visited by police officers.
The CSW programme currently has more than 600 trained volunteers, organised into six groups representing up to 16 communities each. During 2018 there were 59 communities participating enforcing in 40mph, 30mph and 20mph limits across Northamptonshire.
The scheme only covers excess speed, it does not cover other traffic offences such as vehicle weights or mobile phone use.
When a group applies to take part in CSW, we ask for evidence to show there is a good level of support for the scheme locally. This is either in the form of a letter of support from the parish council or pledges of support from individuals.
Any parish council supporting a scheme must provide a letter formally offering that support and undertaking to make the community aware of the upcoming CSW activity.
Alternatively, pledges of support are required from 20 per cent of the electoral role, or 500 people, whichever is least. Those making a pledge are only stating their support for the scheme, and are not required to volunteer themselves.
To join the scheme each community will need:
one deputy co-ordinator
10 volunteers (fewer volunteers can be agreed)
parish council support or pledges of support
Acts as the group point of contact, arranging the enforcement patrol timetable and equipment swaps with a local partner group. Takes part in roadside activities the group runs.
Acts as deputy in the absence of the co-ordinator, and also takes part in roadside activities the group runs.
Works alongside other trained residents during roadside enforcement sessions, using the speed detection equipment and recording details for offending vehicles.
All volunteers undergo a three-hour training session to enable them to take part in roadside sessions. This covers practical and classroom elements, and usually takes place one to two weeks before a group has use of the detection equipment. Once trained, volunteers are covered by a form of public liability insurance while volunteering for CSW. While there’s no need to repeat the training, volunteers are welcome to undergo a refresher.
For further information or to join CSW please email Gary Wright.