COMMUNITIES will take the driving seat in a new road safety initiative to tackle speeding motorists.

Villagers from Crowle, near Worcester, were the first people to arm themselves with hand-held speed measurement devices today (Friday, May 30) under the Community Speed Watch scheme launched by the Safer Roads Partnership.

Trained volunteers took to Church Road, Crowle, as the first site in the West Mercia Police force area with further sites due to follow suit in the coming months to further address concerns about the speed of traffic.

Rod Reynolds, Safer Roads Partnership manager, said: “The Safer Roads Partnership is very pleased to announce the launch of the Community Speed Watch scheme."

Mr Reynolds added: "Enabling local communities to take an active role in addressing concerns about speeding traffic allows us to be more responsive to the needs of local communities and will enhance our road safety and casualty reduction strategy.

"We hope the new site in Crowle will be the first of a series to see a positive change in driver behaviour and compliance with the speed limit.”

The scheme is initiated when speeding traffic has been identified as a community road safety concern by a parish council, safer neighbourhood team or community forum.

It must meet a number of criteria before it is established, including the area having a 30mph or 40mph speed restriction, no other enforcement activity being in place and speed data collected by the partnership must show speed levels do not meet the national industry requirements for police enforcement.

Each scheme must have at least six volunteers and the speed checks must be carried out by at least three volunteers at any one time.

Where vehicle speeds are found to be inappropriate, a letter is sent to the registered keeper by the police with the aim of encouraging them to reduce their speed when driving in the future.

The schemes will be evaluated to ensure they are having an impact on vehicle speed, driver behaviour and community reassurance.