Horndean residents trained to catch drivers who break limit

ON WATCH William Hart and Joan Gilbert monitor the speed of traffic in Catherington Lane.    Picture: Malcolm Wells (112451-4952)

ON WATCH William Hart and Joan Gilbert monitor the speed of traffic in Catherington Lane. Picture: Malcolm Wells (112451-4952)

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RESIDENTS have hit the streets with speed-monitoring equipment to catch drivers who break the limit.

The Community Speedwatch scheme was launched by police and neighbours in Catherington Lane, Horndean, yesterday.

Volunteers have been trained by police to man a Speed Indicator Device which has a built-in radar that records the speed of oncoming traffic up to 130ft away.

The device also flashes up the speed of the vehicle so the driver can see it.

Residents, who will work in groups of three, will take a note of the registration number of vehicles breaking the limit and pass these details on to police.

Officers will then send advisory letters to the speeders – or visit the motorist at their home if they were driving at a particularly high speed.

Drivers will not receive fines in the East Hampshire scheme as the emphasis is on educating drivers.

However, a similar scheme set to be launched in Portsmouth could see fines being issued. Volunteers will soon be patrolling the city’s 20mph zones.

Speeding drivers will initially be sent a warning letter, but a repeat offence would see a fine.

Residents manning the devices in Horndean yesterday said speeding had become a major problem.

Phil Gibbs, 53, of Lychgate Drive, said he was worried about his daughter walking to and from school.

He said: ‘We are not here to lay down the law. We are here to provide drivers with a facility to give them advice if they are doing something wrong.’

Sergeant Gavin Parkes said volunteers will be working across Clanfield, Rowlands Castle and Horndean, targeting different routes.

He said: ‘The first step is education. People react very badly to speeding and don’t like having their licences damaged. In the right situation that should go ahead.

‘But if we can educate people, make our roads safer and it’s more effective, we have got to try it.’

Police will analyse all the data collected by the volunteers. If a road is considered a problem area for speeding, police say they will carry out separate enforcement days using speed guns.

Meanwhile, in Portsmouth, the city council has spent £5,000 on two speed detecting devices. Police are currently looking for residents to be trained to operate them.

Councillor Jason Fazackarley, who heads traffic and transport, said: ‘We have made sure there is an actual punishment. I didn’t see the point if it was just going to be a slap on the wrist, so the second time people are caught speeding, they’ll be issued a fine. I hope people will sign up.’

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