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August 15, 2012

Community law enforcement

Anyone who drives a car will have experienced at some point in their lives that nervous glance down at the speedometer and a quick touch on the breaks as they encounter a roadside speed check.  Speed control in built up areas is a widely acknowledged problem and most folk appreciate the police’s efforts to enforce the law. But what would your reaction be if it was one of your neighbours that was clocking your speed?


Fife Today, 1st August 2012 

THE community speed watch pilot in Kinglassie has finished, with those involved happy that their findings will lead to a bigger police presence.

Community police officers trained locals on how to use the equipment, so they could keep tabs on traffic passing through their village – which has a 20mph speed limit.

People clocked breaking the speed limit, that were clearly identified by the volunteers, will shortly receive a letter from the police about the recorded incident.

Alan Taafe of the Kinglassie Action Group was one of the six volunteers that took part in the month-long trial.

He is glad that the Community Speed Watch scheme will mean more police patrolling the area, as the evidence they gathered proved that speeding is an issue locally.

He said: “We have finished our session now. I gave a run-down of our findings at the recent police community engagement meeting in the village.

“The only improvement I suggested was to have a pre-prepared letter explaining what we are doing, so we could hand it to concerned motorists.

“We will now get more police presence in the area as we have proved there is a problem with speeding in the village.

“The police appreciated what we did and have taken it on board. They have promised to come to Kinglassie more. So we’re happy.”

The local action group’s secretary also revealed some of the Community Speed Watch volunteers’ findings: During the month we recorded 203 vehicles going between 26 and 44mph. The highest was 56mph but the car was going so fast we missed the details of that one.” 

During the pilot, the six volunteers split into two teams of three. One to use the speed gun, one to recognise the number plate and the other to write down the information. Mr Taafe spoke about the public’s reaction to their work: “Most of the comments were very positive and supportive, a few weren’t though,” he said. 

“And we were challenged by one guy. He was just angry that we had clocked him at over 30mph I think. He was the only real problem we had during the trial. We didn’t feel threatened during the process. We had an alarm and mobile phone, so we felt safe. I found the whole thing OK really.”

All equipment used during the scheme was funded through the Community Safety Partnership.

PC Ian Bennett was happy with the trial, he said: “We have sent out about 40 letters following this trial in Kinglassie. It’s been a success, as it has shown that there is an issue with speeding through the village.

“And, the data we have received gives us a better window of times for speeding.

“The scheme is now getting rolled out in other areas once we get volunteers and train them up. I think Community Speed Watch will be back in Kinglassie in three months. But it depends on how many areas take part.”