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  • Writer's pictureCllr Liam Walker

New speedwatch group takes aim at speeding motorists

Kicking off the national campaign of Road Safety Week local councillors and the Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner gathered in the village of Long Hanborough in West Oxfordshire to officially launch a new Community Speedwatch group.

Community Speedwatch is a national initiative where proactive members of local communities join with the support and supervision of their local police to record details of speeding vehicles using approved detection devices.

Registered keepers of vehicles exceeding the speed limit are contacted - initially with a letter explaining the potential risks and consequences of their dangerous behaviour. Repeat offenders will receive a visit from the local police, irrespective of where they live. Beyond these friendly gestures, focused enforcement and criminal prosecution follow based on the collated evidence.

The new Hanborough Parish group has now been established to help tackle speeding in both Long Hanborough and Church Hanborough with the support of local volunteers who give up their time to help tackle this issue.

County Councillor Liam Walker who funded the equipment needed for the group said, "I'm really pleased we now have this team up and running and I would encourage people to play their part by being more aware of their speed when driving or by helping us with volunteering. We all have a responsibility to play in helping to make our communities safer for all road users and pedestrians.

"It's Road Safety Week which helps to highlight the dangers of speeding and why really there is no need to speed. Every 22 minutes someone is killed or seriously injured on UK roads and by doing our bit to reduce speeds we can help save lives and prevent injuries."

Thames Valley Police & Crime Commission Matthew Barber also joined the group and said, "I'm delighted to support communities like Long Hanborough by improving Community Speedwatch in the Thames Valley. Following the successful pilot earlier this year, the new scheme is being rolled out to existing groups and we'll be looking to expand further in the Spring. Speeding is a concern to many communities and this is a genuinely joint approach between residents, the Police and councils to make our roads safer."

In 2020, 1,516 people were killed on UK roads, with 1,460 deaths recorded in Britain and 56 recorded in Northern Ireland. This was a significant decline compared with the previous five years due in part to the lockdown measures that were imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of road deaths in the UK plateaued from 2012 to 2019 at around 1,850 deaths a year, or the equivalent of five a day, on average. Each year on Oxfordshire's roads there are an estimated 30,000 accidents of all types (including damage only and injury), approximately 1,750 reported injury accidents, around 30 deaths, 275 serious injuries and nearly 1,500 slight injuries reported.

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