Harwich’s speed volunteers are first in the UK to be given enforcement powers
A dedicated speed watch group will become the first in the country to be given enforcement powers, under a new Safer Essex Roads Partnership initiative.
The Harwich and District SERP Volunteers have been trained an authorised by Essex Police to enforce speed limits within their community, together with attending events, schools and colleges to raise road safety awareness.
The volunteers, made up of members of the Harwich and District Community Speed Watch group, will be the first in the UK to take part in the scheme.
The initiative is designed to raise awareness of the consequences of speeding, failing to wear your seatbelt, using your phone while driving or driving under the influence of drink or drugs – commonly known as the fatal four.
It also means the volunteers will be the first in the country to be able to use the police’s Trucam and issue penalty charge notice letters to speeding drivers.
Dave Blackiston, co-ordinator of the Harwich and District SERP Volunteers, said: “The new Safer Essex Roads Partnership Volunteer team comes from the local community and will work with the community to increase the awareness of the consequences of the fatal four, through education and enforcement.
“We hope our presence will act as a deterrent and will make people aware of their speed.
“This isn’t about catching people, this is about building on the work of the Safer Essex Roads Partnership in saving lives.
“I feel very proud to be able to support our local area by highlighting the dangers of unsafe driving.”
Volunteers will also work with Essex Police in their role as road safety ambassadors within their community. Nicola Foster, chairman of SERP, said: “This is a fantastic new initiative that supports residents who want to increase the awareness within their community and who are prepared to give up their time to be a visible safe presence on the roads.
“Please encourage everyone you know to drive safely, which includes keeping within the speed limits; particularly through rural communities and to support the work of these volunteers.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Improving safety on our roads is one of the priorities in my police and crime plan.
“Our objective is to reduce harm on the roads and promote safer driving.
“I’m pleased to see that we are giving communities extra technology to help deter drivers from speeding and are able to act on the concerns that residents have raised.”
This is a pilot initiative which launched on Wednesday and will be reviewed after 12 months.