MARHAM SPEED WATCH AWARD
The Marham Speed Watch team is a voluntary group operating on behalf of Norfolk Constabulary,
with the backing of the Parish Council. It was set up to address the issue of speeding in the
village, which the parishioners highlighted as their main concern in the neighbourhood plan.
At a ceremony last month, in recognition of their efforts, the Marham team received an award for
the most hours volunteered.
The objective of speed watch is to monitor peoples speed and report to the police those that are
breaking the speed limit. The police then send them a letter. The idea is that it makes people more
aware of the speed that they are doing which is often accidental. Far better to be made aware of
your speed, so that you learn to be more observant of it, than to get caught by an enforcement
camera. If you are interested, and can spare the odd hour, please contact the co-ordinator David
Paisley. His contact details can be found on the Councillors page.
Neighbourhood Panels have been established to identify neighbourhood priorities and to monitor agreed Partnership action. There has generally been growing concern expressed at the panels regarding issues of road safety, and anti social speeding has consistently been identified as a community priority. Such concerns reflect the past findings of the British Crime Survey where speeding was identified as a key priority. Neighbourhood Panels have shown that the concerns caused by speeding vehicles in communities are especially high.
Public perceptions of speeding hot-spots often do not correlate with the analysis of casualty reduction sites identified by the County Council. There is demand for police speed enforcement action at speeding sites identified through Neighbourhood Panels. A new way of partnership working is needed to ensure community expectations are met and effective speed enforcement activity still takes place. Intelligence-led speed enforcement activity by the police will continue, supplemented by local Speedwatch action.
Responding effectively to the genuine speeding concerns expressed by Neighbourhood Panels requires a new partnership approach. Speedwatch provides the opportunity for the public to influence and contribute to education of drivers and assist the police in any enforcement activity thereafter.
Speedwatch is the manifestation of a safety activity being adopted and practiced by the community, reflecting current Government thinking that policing goes beyond the remit of official agencies.
Speeding and driving is a deeply emotional subject, many drivers thinking they are very good will refuse criticism. Unfortunately, most crashes are due to poor driving that were preventable, so, the facts do not justify the emotions. Most drivers having passed their test never have their driving checked and through time will develop faults and misconceptions. Others will be enthusiastic and learn new skills, putting them to good use, this we encourage and promote through our web links.
There is nothing like a Speedwatch scheme to bring division and controversy, some drivers hate us, far more love us and stop to give encouragement (maybe they are fed up with the aggressive tailgating, law abiding drivers too often encounter in posted speed limit areas?), residents offer cups of tea/coffee, others complain bitterly we have not visited their village and ask us to come soon!
The purpose of this article is to explain the facts, rather than myths, about Speedwatch, that is operating in Marham, Narborough and soon to come to Shouldham.
Speedwatch – The facts!
Community Speed Watch is a scheme to encourage people to reduce speeding traffic though their community. The scheme enables volunteers to work within their community to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and poor driving, helping to control the problem locally.
Many villages and small towns have a problem with vehicles that fail to reduce speed. On country routes, a 60mph zone may regularly become a 40 or 30mph zone, as it passes through small communities.
Yet many drivers don’t reduce their speed until they are well past the speed limit sign. And many only slow down by a small amount – not enough to be within the speed limit. They may simply be oblivious that they are in a residential area and need to slow down.
These drivers risk the safety of local residents and pedestrians – especially children.
Not all hamlets and villages enjoy footpaths and may only provide a single track road.
Despite the controversy, Speedwatch is a compromise between traffic calming and lower speed limits (20mph) and the driver who is cocooned and oblivious to the outside environment and needs of communities.
IT HAS NEVER BEEN DEMONSTRATED THAT MAKING DRIVERS STAY WITHIN SPEED LIMITS HAS RESULTED IN AN INCREASE IN CRASHES. BUT – THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOW SPEED FAILURE ARE LESS DISASTROUS THAN THAT OF HIGH SPEED FAILURE! These are facts which the anti-Speedwatch lobby cannot fault, and any demonstration that Speedwatch is misplaced cannot come from ‘pub law’ but from scientific research proved to the contrary.
The scheme is run with local volunteers and the police working together.
We need two types of volunteers:
1/ Those who operate the equipment, undertaking the checks, for which full and on-going training is given.
2/ Those who can identify problem areas and coordinate between the local council, residents and Speedwatch, finding locals to help when we’re doing checks.
If you would like to volunteer please contact David Paisley Speedwatch co-ordinator