Volunteers with speed guns 'to be deployed nationwide' to target speeding motorists

Ross McGuinness
·2-min read
Sgt Paul Moor from Essex Traffic Police uses a laser speed gun on the new stretch of the A130 between Chelmsford and Southend. Forty motorists who drove above 100mph on the new road are appearing at a special court hearing at Witham Magistrates Court.
A speed camera being used by a police officer on a road in the UK. (PA)

Volunteers with speed guns are to be deployed across the UK in an effort to target speeding motorists, it has been reported.

Police chiefs are currently drawing up plans to expand existing volunteer speed-gun schemes across the country, according to The Times.

Last year, it emerged that four speeding drivers are caught every minute on Britain’s roads.

There are already a number of Community Speedwatch (CSW) initiatives, where local communities are supported by police.

These volunteers are tasked with monitoring the speeds of vehicles in their area, then reporting motorists who break the limit to police.

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Drivers caught speeding by volunteers cannot be prosecuted using this evidence, but police typically send warning letters to motorists caught more than twice. Officers may also set up their own operations at trouble areas.

Volunteers are trained and given handheld speed cameras to record vehicles, whose registrations are passed to police, usually if they exceed the speed limit by 10%.

WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06: Sgt. Jephcott from the No Excuse team uses a speed gun on the A35 as he patrols Dorset as part of the No Excuse campaign, on December 06, 2019 in Weymouth, England. The initiative is part of a force wide Christmas drink drive campaign with a fast-track policy of bringing drink drivers before a court within a week of the offence as well as the wider work of the No Excuse campaign. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
Police forces are reportedly considering a national rollout of volunteers with speed guns. (Getty Images)

Volunteers usually carry out their work on roads with 20mph, 30mph and 40mph speed limits.

The Times reported that Alison Hernandez, the police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall and the lead for road safety at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, is calling for the scheme to spread nationwide.

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In a submission to a government review into roads policing, she wrote: “There would be benefit in joining up community speedwatch schemes under a national platform, with proper governance and standards in place to allow data to be accessed and shared more readily rather than lost.”

She pointed out that the scheme “operates differently in each force area, meaning opportunities to identify repeat offences in different areas are not always picked up”.

A SPECS camera at the side of the M62 Motorway near Manchester.    The cameras work by capturing a cars registration plate using ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology to provide an average speed for a car through a section of road.
The AA says speed cameras are more effective than volunteers with speed guns. (PA)

She said: “There is great potential if these could operate to national standards and accreditation.”

But Edmund King, president of the AA, told The Times: “There are better solutions than volunteers in yellow jackets.”

He said police patrols, speed cameras, digital warning signs and traffic calming were all more effective measures.

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