Speedwatch-helping keep our roads safe

Community Speed Watch is a Police led scheme under the Dorset Road Safe umbrella which encompasses the police, fire service, health and local authorities working in partnership to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads through education, enforcement and engineering.  It has been operating in Child Okeford since November 2014, starting just as the scheme was being rolled out across Dorset – there are now 100 teams in the county and the Police intend this to increase.

With pedestrians (including families, the elderly, dog walkers), cyclists and horse-riders regularly using the roads that have no footpaths or street lighting, including the often congested area around the shop and The Cross, it doesn’t take much imagination to think what could happen. The cost of a fatality is not just a human one. The Operations Manager of the Road Safety Team (Police) pointed out at the CSW Conference in October 2019 it costs £2.2m to deal with a fatality. More encouragingly, he also said that compared to 550 deaths reported in 2002, there were 293 in 2019, the lowest on record in Dorset, thanks to combined efforts of the various Police operations and CSW teams.

Two teams are on duty for one week each per month to remind and educate those who habitually and indiscriminately speed through the village, carrying out as many Watches as personnel and weather permit. The Police are notified in advance each time, partly for information, partly in case an incident occurs and support is needed, but also so that their No Excuse teams can visit us whilst on duty. More often than not our presence is enough to slow drivers down, but typically when monitoring outside the Village Hall, 200+ vehicles pass in 1 hour, with 10/12 transgressors or more reported to the Police. Educational letters are sent, and a driver offending three times will be visited by the Police – at this stage they also use the information for intelligence in case the speeding could be in connection with crime.

In 2014 we started with 3 teams of 7 which enabled us to perform Watches, on a rotational basis, in the High St., The Hollow and Duck St. plus, occasionally, Station Rd., Shaftesbury Rd. and Lower Common Rd. As members have gradually stood down we haven’t been able to replace with an equal number so we are now down to 2 teams of 4, plus 3 on occasional standby. As 3 are needed to carry out a Watch and we have to allow for volunteers sometimes not being available, without further help it is not possible to cover all our sites so we are concentrating on the 20 m.p.h. areas of the High St. and The Hollow where we report the most transgressors, and where the most people are forced to walk in the roads to reach the centre of the village and the Surgery.

Even by concentrating on the 20 m.p.h. area, we have minimum numbers to cover 4 Watches each month, and would prefer to return to covering our other sites as well. If you are at all concerned about the speed of traffic through the village and want the Community Speed Watch scheme to continue, please consider joining our friendly teams. It only involves 1 – 2 hours a week, once a month on varying days according to volunteers’ availability and not during evenings, weekends, Bank Holidays or in bad weather. Simple training is given by our Police Community Support Officer for about an hour and then you are ready to go. Please contact me on: 01258 861612 or [email protected]

Celia Ebdon

Speed Watch Co-ordinator

PS: The speed indicating device which operates in three places in the village is not run or owned by Speed Watch. If you spot any problems with the SID [speed indicating device] not working in the village please contact Councillor Smith on 01258 860440 or at [email protected]

Page last updated 03/02/2020

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