Community Speed Watch is a Police led scheme under the Dorset Road Safe umbrella which encompasses the police, fire service, health and local authorities working in partnership to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads through education, enforcement and engineering. It has been operating in Child Okeford since November 2014, starting just as the scheme was being rolled out across Dorset – there are now 100 teams in the county and the Police intend this to increase.
With pedestrians (including families, the elderly, dog walkers), cyclists and horse-riders regularly using the roads that have no footpaths or street lighting, including the often congested area around the shop and The Cross, it doesn’t take much imagination to think what could happen.
Two teams are on duty for one week each per month to remind and educate those who habitually and indiscriminately speed through the village, carrying out as many Watches as personnel and weather permit. The Police are notified in advance each time, partly for information, partly in case an incident occurs and support is needed, but also so that their No Excuse teams can visit us whilst on duty. More often than not our presence is enough to slow drivers down, but typically when monitoring outside the Village Hall, 200+ vehicles pass in 1 hour, with 10/12 transgressors or more reported to the Police.
The response of the police is firstly to send an educational letter but persistent offenders who have been reported three times or more will be visited by the Police – at this stage they also use the information for intelligence in case the speeding could be in connection with crime.
If you are at all concerned about the speed of traffic through the village and want the Community Speed Watch scheme to continue, please consider joining our friendly teams. It only involves 1 – 2 hours a week, once a month on varying days according to volunteers’ availability and not during evenings, weekends, Bank Holidays or in bad weather. Simple training is given by our Police Community Support Officer for about an hour and then you are ready to go.