Agenda item

Speedwatch Scheme

-        Presentation by Speedwatch co-ordinator (Alan Watson)


The Speedwatch Manager (Alan Watson) provided a presentation which set out details of the speedwatch initiative and how it operated within communities.   The aim of the initiative was to increase awareness, through education, of excessive vehicle speeds on local roads, help residents make a significant contribution to local road safety and help generate valuable data for the community to inform highway measures. 


Schemes were ‘owned’, funded and operated by local community groups, such as the parish council, acting as volunteers with support based in the Central Process Unit at Kent Police Force Headquarters in Maidstone.


Kent Police supported Community Speedwatch by delivering appropriate training, providing site risk assessments, sending advice letters and insuring volunteers against public liability risk and personal injury whilst on the roadside.


Operating at the roadside in 20, 30, and 40 miles per hour (mph) limits, Speedwatch practitioners monitored the speeds of passing vehicles using portable speed indication devices. They recorded and reported the speed and identified details of vehicles travelling at or above nationally-specified speed thresholds (25, 35, and 46mph respectively).


The registered keepers of vehicles seen repeatedly or excessively speeding anywhere in Kent in the previous 12 months were then sent a warning letter and advice by Kent Police.  


Within Tonbridge and Malling there were currently sites being assessed in Addington, Coldharbour, East Malling, Hadlow, Kings Hill, Larkfield, Offham, Shipbourne, Wateringbury and West Malling.  It was noted that Tonbridge and Malling was the second most productive Community Speedwatch in Kent.   Wateringbury was the highest recorder in the Borough with a high number of excessive speeders noted.  However, there had been a steady decline in activity in the Borough and the reason for this was not yet understood.


Mr Watson indicated that he would be happy to speak to any inactive groups to regenerate local interest.


Reference was made to the 50% subsidy being offered by Kent Highways towards equipment for new start up groups, or for groups where the equipment was faulty or shared.  Further details were available by contacting the Speedwatch Co-ordinator on


Finally, it was reported that Community Speedwatch would be going on-line shortly to offer a centralised and enhanced system.  This included links to social media where it would be possible to name and shame individuals.


The Chairman referred to comments made by Wateringbury Parish Council at the last meeting of the Parish Partnership Panel regarding the lack of support and follow up by Kent Police, which they believed had led to the decline in activity, as volunteers no longer felt it was worthwhile without effective enforcement.


Mr Watson was confident that this was an improving position and better support could now be provided as more resources became available. 


In response to a question about the speeding thresholds, the Panel was advised that these were decided by Kent Police and they allowed a level of ‘tolerance for different manufacturers’.  It was also commented that there were insufficient officers to offer earlier enforcement. 


In addition, Members were advised that the speed detection equipment used was not Home Office approved so could not be used as evidence to support enforcement.  However, Community Speedwatch was a valuable and effective tool in educating and raising awareness.


With regard to training of volunteers a target of end of December had been set to enrol all those interested and any outstanding requests would be followed up as soon as possible.  


West Malling Parish Council indicated that the online training was very good as it was simple and easy to use and provided flexibility about how and when it was done. 


The Chairman thanked Mr Watson for his informative presentation and hoped that more volunteers could come forward.  It was also hoped that parishes were reassured that support was now available.

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