Spotlight on speeding drivers

A COMMUNITY initiative aimed at clamping down on speeding has highlighted problem hotspots in a town.

Speed Watch – a scheme which involves volunteers using a Speed Indication Device (SID) to monitor the speed of traffic on the roads – has been set up in Arlesey.

Successful Speed Watch schemes, which are endorsed by Bedfordshire Police, already run elsewhere in the county, including in Clifton and Henlow.

Volunteers are vetted by police and given training on using the SID.

Over the past few weeks, Speed Watch volunteers have been targeting main roads in Arlesey, including the High Street, Hitchin Road, Stotfold Road, Church Lane and House Lane.

If a vehicle is caught speeding, the registration number is taken down and passed on to Bedfordshire Police, who send a warning letter to the owner.

If a vehicle is caught a second time, a second warning letter is sent.

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For a third offence, police will visit the vehicle owner’s home and enforcement action may be taken.

Speed Watch volunteer Hugh Harper, who is also chairman of Arlesey Residents’ Association, said: “The problems we have found are in the High Street. Drivers are coming down the hill and speeding up.

“Hitchin Road is also another place for speeding – perhaps the worst place – and the High Street is the second worst.

“The highest recorded speed is 40mph in a 30mph zone.”

A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said that, while drivers cannot be prosecuted based on the information supplied by Speed Watch volunteers, the scheme makes the police aware of any issues or problem areas.

“It can flag up dangerous roads and we can then go to the council to discuss possible action,” he said.

If an area seems particularly problematic, he said, police officers may attend and drivers caught can be prosecuted.

Beds Police has been monitoring the speed of vehicles in Arlesey’s High Street quarterly since a survey in November 2010 found 18.84 per cent of vehicles using the road were speeding.

On Hitchin Road, a survey in June 2009 found 3.1 per cent of vehicles were speeding and, consequently, no police action was taken.

“If the Speed Watch volunteers are seeing a big increase in issues, get in touch,” said the Beds Police spokesman.

“As soon as we get that data, we can do a fresh survey.”