One of Telford’s first Community Speedwatch (CSW) groups began operating in Lawley at the start of this week. Volunteers from Lawley, with support from West Mercia Police, took to Dawley Road with speed guns in order to raise awareness of inappropriate speeds among the public.
Community Speedwatch is a nationwide scheme that enables volunteers to work with their local police forces to monitor vehicle speeds within their communities.
At least six individuals from the local community are needed to form a Community Speedwatch group. They are subject to police checks and are then given two hours of training by the police before they can begin to monitor roads in their area.
The Lawley Community Speedwatch group was formed after almost eight years of campaigning by its members. While common in Shropshire, Community Speedwatch groups have historically not been used in the Telford & Wrekin area, with only a handful currently in operation.
Sharon George, Clerk of Lawley and Overdale Parish Council, worked with the group to communicate the seriousness of their concerns to West Mercia Police. This helped to pave the way for the group’s formal launch.
Lee Vidor, a founding member of the Lawley CSW, said the group now has “a great relationship building up with the local SNT [Safer Neighbourhood Team] and speed watch coordinator”.
Lawley CSW is run by its members – they have freedom to go out whenever they want, and for as long as they want. They must abide by safety restrictions, however, including wearing high-visibility clothing, working in groups of at least three, standing in areas deemed to be safe, and using proper signage. The group works closely with the police to make sure these measures are in place.
Drivers caught speeding are recorded by the volunteers, and their details are shared with the police. For a first offence, the driver will receive a warning letter, intended to educate them about the dangers of speeding. If caught a second time, the driver will receive a more severe ‘final warning’ letter. A third offence may lead to enforcement and prosecution.
Determining which roads to monitor is also evidence-led; the group can only monitor roads which have been highlighted as areas of concern by data.
Lawley CSW decided to begin their monitoring activities on Dawley Road in Lawley. Dawley Road is a well-known ‘hotspot’ for speeding and unsafe driving, to the extent that additional traffic safety measures were installed on part of the road earlier this year.
The group hopes to make a real difference to the safety of not just Dawley Road, but roads all around their community in the future.
If you’d like to get involved with Lawley CSW, you can contact them by messaging the Make Lawley Village’s Roads Safer Facebook page.
Updates about the group’s activities will be posted on that page as well.
What if I live outside of Lawley, and would like to establish a Community Speedwatch group in my area?
First you should check to see if there is an existing group working in your area.
If there isn’t, you will need at least six volunteers to start with, and the support of your local policing team. Check the Community Speedwatch website for details.
If you live in Lawley and Overdale Parish, then get in touch with us to find out how the Parish Council can support you. Otherwise, contact your local Parish Council to see what support they can offer.