Friday, 22 June 2012

Aberdour volunteers to be given speed guns to crack down on speeding

Volunteers in Aberdour are to be given speed guns by the police to record vehicles driving through the village.
The initiative, dubbed ‘Community Speedwatch’, is a collaboration between Aberdour Community Council and Fife Constabulary, that will see members of the public going out armed with police radar equipment and high visibility vests.
However, those participating in the plans will not possess the authority to stop any drivers, or have them charged with an offence.
John Burrell, secretary of Aberdour Community Council, hopes the scheme will persuade drivers to reduce their speed when travelling through the village.
 “It will be high visibility, so cars coming into the village will know there’s a speed check and it will give them a chance to slow down. If they don’t slow down and they go over a certain speed, then the police will send them letters.”
 “(Volunteers) won’t possess any powers at all, except that the information that they record on the speed guns will be passed on to the police. They have no powers to do anything outside of that.”
“It’s not about prosecuting people, it’s not about catching people; it’s about getting traffic to slow down going through the village.”
Volunteers will be trained by the police to use the equipment, then positioned strategically throughout Aberdour in groups of three. Mr Burrell explained how this routine is to be carried out, and is expected to happen two to four times a month.
 “You go out for an hour at a time and record the speed of the traffic coming into the village. You only record people doing over a certain limit. The limit is actually quite high; it’s 27 or more on a 20mph zone and 37 or more in a 30mph zone. So with all the warning signs, high-vis jackets and all the rest of it, if people are still doing 37 going through the village, they deserve to be recorded.”
The Speedwatch initiative has had some success in Cupar, where the average speed of vehicles was reduced by up to 2% in some areas.
Sergeant Jonathan Peebles, supervisor for South West Fife area, believes that similar results can be achieved in Aberdour.
“Our intention is to introduce (Speedwatch) to Aberdour and hopefully reduce the average speed of vehicles travelling through the village, because it has been particularly highlighted to us by the residents.”
Not all residents are in favour of the proposals though; a video has surfaced on YouTube accusing the Council of tarnishing the public image of Aberdour.
‘El Mano’, star of the video who wishes to remain anonymous says, “There’s much less offensive ways of slowing drivers down... traffic-calming measures, flashing lights, passively asking drivers to slow down... That’s the best for the image of Aberdour rather than pointing something in their face by people who aren’t even policemen.”
The video has had over 6,600 views, and has received vocal support from members of the community.
Mr. Callum Scott of Hawkcraig Road says, “Giving members of the public calibrated equipment and then restricting their effectiveness under the guise of “this is an educational approach to speeding rather than enforcement” is a total waste of time.”
Mr. John Clark of Main Street is a bit more optimistic. “The best this stunt can do is raise awareness in peoples minds and hope that they will change their behaviour voluntarily.”

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