Speedwatch-helping keep our roads safe

COMMUNITY SPEED WATCH

‘Cllr. Sherry Jespersen, (Dorset DC). giving her support to Child Okeford Community Speedwatch’.

Community Speed Watch has been operating in Child Okeford since November 2014, starting just as the scheme was being rolled out across Dorset – there are now over 80 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.

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.

The cost of a fatality is not just a human one. The Operations Manager of the Road Safety Team (Police) recently pointed out it costs £1.4m to deal with a fatality, with 18 in Dorset this year. More encouragingly, he also said that compared to 2006, in 2016 there were 44% less fatalities thanks to combined efforts of the various Police operations and CSW teams.

After 5 years of service a number of volunteers are standing down at the end of October, which leaves just 6 volunteers to cover all our sites. As 3 are needed to carry out a Watch and we have to allow for volunteers sometimes not being available, without further help it will not be possible to continue Speed Watch in its present form.

Up to now we have been performing Watches, on a rotational basis, in each of the High St., The Hollow and Duck St. plus, occasionally, Station Rd. Unfortunately our Shaftesbury Rd. and Lower Common Rd. sites haven’t been covered for some time. Without more volunteers we will have to restrict ourselves to the 20 m.p.h. area of High St. and The Hollow as this is where the most people are forced to walk in the roads to reach the centre of the village and the Surgery.

Even if we do concentrate on the 20 m.p.h. area, we will struggle to cover a minimum of 2 Watches each month. If you are at all concerned about the speed of traffic through the village and don’t want the Community Speed Watch scheme to end, 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 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 Speedwatch. If you spot any problems with the SID [speed indicating device] not working in the village please contact Councillor Smith on 01258 860440 or be email at [email protected]

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