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Community Speedwatch Scheme in Wiltshire to reduce speeding and empower residents

Learning Points

Wiltshire’s community speedwatch scheme has made a positive start and has resulted in enthusiastic and well targeted volunteer activity which has had a positive impact on speeding in Wiltshire. Volunteers have been consulted and asked to suggest improvements to the scheme and the steering group has started to act on their suggestions. As the steering group continues to act on volunteer’s suggestions the scheme will grow and build on the real success achieved so far.

Moving forward: Challenges to overcome

Throughout the first year of the project a number of challenges have been identified. The project has highlighted differences between local resident’s understanding of speed limits and police enforcement thresholds: local residents typically want enforcement at any speed over 30mph, whereas the threshold for police enforcement action begins at 36mph. This has required education and the development of options for those areas where speeding thresholds do not meet the criteria, for example speed awareness signage. Community speedwatch volunteers have themselves identified a need for further educational work around speeding. In the future the project could be extended to raise awareness of speeding by training young people in community speedwatch before they start driving and bringing community speedwatch groups into local schools. For more information about how to effectively increase awareness about the dangers of speeding and drink-driving please read this case study on the Close-To project from Austria. 

Another challenge is how to help parishes where the “metrocount” data does not support the introduction of Community speedwatch. A number of these parishes reported a high perception of speeding and some had already recruited volunteers for speedwatch before their eligibility for the scheme was established. It has been hard to maintain the goodwill and momentum of these volunteers. One way of maintaining momentum may be to allow volunteers to work at different sites. The disbandment of the camera safety unit meant that the project methodology had to be redesigned. Demand for metrocount strips is now being dealt with by the council. In some cases this has led to longer processing times. Demand for the resources needed to support the scheme, such as metrocount strips, speed indicator devices (SIDs), speed guns and speed limit stickers for residents to attach to wheelie bins has increased significantly. This has particularly been the case with SIDs, which are seen by local residents across as a very effective speeding deterrent. However, they are usually only deployed at sites of community concern which meet certain speeding thresholds and then only on a rota basis.  More needs to be done to promote the scheme and celebrate its achievements, particularly the valuable contribution of the volunteers to community safety. An event was held in April 2011 to acknowledge the contribution of volunteers and give them an opportunity to identify potential improvements to the scheme.

About this case study
Main Contact

Steve Milton

Head of Community Governance

Wiltshire Council

Tel: 01722 434255




Steve Milton wrote this case study for Governance International on 7 November 2011.
It was updated in 2016.

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