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IT do paperwork for speed initiative
TECHNOLOGY will ensure Wiltshire Police resources are not stretched too thin by the expanding Community Speed Watch scheme, according to Angus Macpherson.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Wilt-shire and Swindon was supporting volunteers last week, along with police officers, who were helping with speed checks and breathalysing drivers caught speeding.
There are now 100 active schemes in the county, with participants in another 30 awaiting training, as the operation ramps up with the full backing of the PCC.
Mr Macpherson denied friction with Chief Constable Patrick Geenty over the strain of Speed Watch on officers.
The increase in paperwork as numbers caught speeding rose would be met by technology rather than extra staff, he said.
The PCC was confident computers would do the legwork for volunteers filing registration plates, as well as keeping the police on top of recording names of persistent offenders.
“For some people, emailing a spreadsheet is pretty scary stuff, but in doing that the technology just takes over, so actually getting the letter sent is quite quick,” he said.
“The key thing is that we now have the ability, which wasn’t there before, to know when someone’s had two letters.”
Since the scheme relaunched in September more than 4,012 letters have been sent to drivers caught speeding.
Community Speed Watch is a scheme run by local communities supported by Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Council, Swindon Council and the PCC.
It gives concerned residents a chance to help combat speeding in their areas.
Mr Macpherson said he was aware Community Speed Watch could still be improved, with support and engagement from the constabulary at the top of his priorities.
“I’m keen the next meeting, when we call them all back in, will be around making sure the constabulary do their bit to support them,” he said.
“We’ve got to get to the point where when you drive through the village you don’t just lift two fingers to the nice man in the yellow jacket because you know all you’re going to get is a letter.
“What we are looking at doing is getting a letter out to offenders, and that can be followed up in several ways, one of which is by inviting people to come to a neighbourhood justice panel to have some education on what effect this is having.
“Then, of course, you have got the neighbourhood officer calling around in the evening and saying you are a persistent speeder.”
He also said the scheme was built upon educating motorists, as opposed to high and regular fines: “What you are trying to do is educate them; none of these things are fundraising exercises.
“If we can get to a better point where there is more chance of it not being just the villagers, but being a warranted officer too, it’s surprising, the people who will slow down.
“If you don’t know what your chances are with those guys, you will slow down more.”
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