Report by Ron Cross, CSW Co-ordinator
Watch Your Speed in Ferndown
Last year the community Speedwatch team successfully completed an extensive number of roadside checks across Ferndown and has been recognised by Dorset Police as one of the most active and effective “Watch Your Speed” speedwatch groups in Dorset. This is largely because they were seen on the roadside by over 30,000 motorists, with many slowing when they saw their speed was being monitored. The team also increased the number of sessions carried out during commute hours which resulted in them being seen by thousands of motorists living outside of Ferndown.
Ron Cross, our CSW Co-ordinator, said our sole aim is to encourage motorists to regularly check their speed and to discourage motorists from driving at excessive speeds. We emphasise this by standing on the roadside in hi-viz jackets so deliberately highly visible and clearly noticeable to all passing motorists. We hope that this provides a strong message to motorists that we simply want them to observe the prescribed speed limits and to slow down if they are driving too fast.
He explained it’s important that everyone regularly checks their speed, particularly motorists that don’t always realise they are exceeding the prescribed speed limit.
Watch Your Speed Volunteers
Ron added our team of volunteers are not speed enforcement officers and importantly we do not issue fixed penalty notices and speeding fines. Instead we arrange with Dorset Police for any motorist exceeding a speed limit to receive an Advice Letter, making them aware that they were recorded travelling in excess of the prescribed speed limit. Dorset Police then add the incident details to their records and only take further action where motorists ignore the advice given.
He added pleasingly most motorists that pass us are driving within the prescribed speed limits. Notwithstanding this last year we still unfortunately reported a substantial number of speeding motorists to Dorset Police with 730 motorists sent at least one Advice Letter by Dorset Police.
This figure has attracted the attention of the Dorset Police who are uncomfortable with the volume of motorists reported and have responded by increasing the number of speed enforcement officers deployed to our area as part of their No Excuse casualty reduction operation. They have also started to occasionally join us on the roadside so that speeding motorists expecting to simply receive an Advice Letter may instead unfortunately receive a Fixed Penalty Notice and possibly be required to attend a speed awareness course.
Speed Watch Areas
Ron explained that this year we will continue to focus our sessions in six roads, namely Glenmoor Road, Dudsbury Avenue, Church Road, Victoria Road, Ameysford Road and Woodside Road. He added that we we’ve received considerable support from local residents and still continue to receive a lot of requests from residents asking us to patrol their roads. Unfortunately, in all cases the residents making the requests are unable to spare any time to help.
He explained that with Ferndown being the largest inland town in Dorset, we would like to expand and run two teams, one in ‘South Ferndown’ and the other covering ‘North Ferndown’. We are very fortunate to have such an enthusiastic group of volunteers and have a sufficient number for a second team. Creating a second team would also possibly allow us to patrol a few more roads, where having one team restricts us to six roads. To achieve this would need a volunteer able to spare a few hours a week with good organisational and administrative skills, so able to maintain a schedule and e-mail roadside returns to Dorset Police. If this is something that would interest you, please contact Ron on 07592 790199.