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New group being set up in Beccles hopes to tackle speeding

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 July 2016

PC Simon Green meets supporters of Beccles Community Speed Watch.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

PC Simon Green meets supporters of Beccles Community Speed Watch. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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A new scheme is being set up in a bid to tackle speeding motorists in Beccles - and people the community are asked to get involved.

A Community Speed Watch group is set to be launched in the town, overseen by Suffolk Police. It will see members of the public trained to use handheld speed indication devices and drivers caught breaking the limit will then have their details sent on to the police.

Police will then send an advisory notice, and although drivers flagged up by the Speed Watch group will not be prosecuted, persistent offenders may be targeted for police enforcement.

It has been organised by Hugh Taylor, working closely with other Beccles residents, who said: “It has become clear that the community needs to do something to help lower drivers’ speeds within the town, beyond a sign informing them of the speed limit.

“During the work to establish the Northgate, Ravensmere and Fen Lane 20mph zone, and looking at extending 20mph limits to other parts of Beccles, residents realised that additional measures would be needed to maintain motorists’ awareness of the need to keep their speed within the legal limit. There have been calls for a community speed watch scheme to be set up for a little while now in Beccles and we have worked on doing so with the police and also with residents of Bungay.

“It’s really an advisory scheme for drivers. Information is passed on to the police who inform the motorist that they were speeding. There’s no prosecution but the cars’ details are brought to their attention.

“It’s meant to be a helpful, friendly deterrent - we don’t think some motorists appreciate the speeds they are doing and the group’s work is very much complementary to what the police do, but we know that police resources are limited.”

Suffolk Police claims Speed Watch schemes across the country show the initiative can cause a reduction in overall average speeds and a significant reduction in drivers travelling well above the speed limit.

The first step in setting up the group is to find the minimum number of six people willing to be trained in how to operate the equipment and how to carry out the role of a community speed watcher.

Then, members can come up with areas they feel would benefit from being monitored and, once these have been approved by Suffolk Police, the group will need to buy the necessary equipment.

The handheld devices cost around £4,000, and Mr Taylor said there are a number of options the group are now exploring to meet the cost and that they would welcome any offers of help.

A similar group in Bungay is in the process of being set up and Mr Taylor said he would like to see the two groups, and others in the area, working together to share expertise and resources.

Anyone who would like to register their interest in joining the Beccles Community Speedwatch group, or to learn more about the scheme, can email becclescommunityspeedwatch@gmail.com or can contact him by telephoning 07825 871938.

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