Category Archives: THINK! Speed

Speeding matters for Sergeant Street

CAMBS POLICE-31

Sergeant Andy Street

As a neighbourhood policing sergeant, a major part of my role is community engagement and public consultation. It is important for us to let people know what is happening and to find out from local people what concerns them and whether they believe we are doing a good job. We are always trying to be innovative in the ways in which we engage with the community and the current favourite is the use of social media.

We regularly put out messages on e-cops, Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t already receive these messages you can subscribe to e-cops via our website www.cambs.police.uk or find our Policing Huntingdonshire page on Facebook. There is no doubt that we get our messages across to large numbers of people by these means but I have to say that I’m still a fan of the good old fashioned way of going out and talking to people.

I love the occasions when I can put on my big hat, go out on foot patrol and get talking to people. Unfortunately, resource levels and competing demands mean that we cannot carry out foot patrols as often as we used to but I always try to encourage it among officers as and when they can. Community policing is about getting to know people and finding out what concerns them. Our main policing priority is to protect the vulnerable and those that fall victim of crime. The best way to do this is to listen to people to find out what’s going on and who is at risk.

Another good way to engage with the public is by holding public meetings. I recently held a police/community forum meeting at Ramsey Forty Foot which was well attended. The main topic of conversation was speeding and road safety. There were residents from Ramsey and several of the surrounding villages complaining about people regularly driving dangerously at excess speeds through their neighbourhoods. Such was the strength of feeling that I made a commitment that officers on the local policing team would spend a set amount of time each week carrying out speed enforcement sessions in the Ramsey sector. Last week I did a session in Forty Foot and a session in Wood Lane and earlier this week an officer from the team did a session in Mereside and a session in St. Marys. As a result several drivers have been reported for exceeding the speed limit. These sessions will be continuing for the foreseeable future. I have also been in contact with the safety camera unit who have given their assurance that they will be carrying out sessions in the district as well.

Road safety is something I have always been very keen on promoting. Over the years I have attended a great many road accidents which have resulted in death or horrific injuries which might not have happened if people had just taken a little more care in their driving. If you are driving through a village at 40mph would you really be able to stop if a child runs out in front of you?

I admit that speed enforcement may be seen by some as a heavy handed approach but the fact is there are a large number of drivers who choose to ignore speed limits. To drive a car is a big responsibility and requires a great deal of care and thought. Some drivers selfishly think that the only important thing is to get to where they are going as quickly as possible and have no thought for anyone else. It often amazes me that I catch anyone when I do speed enforcement. The law requires me to stand in full view of the traffic, wearing a fluorescent jacket. Yet I still catch people doing well over the speed limit and even accelerating as they approach me. Sometimes it is clear that drivers are not taking any notice of their surroundings.

So expect to see us out and about. We are not trying to be underhand or to catch anyone out. We are working for our communities and doing our best to try to save lives.

Drive safely

Taking positive action against speeding drivers while building a community

Jan 25 speedwatchVolunteer Steve Davis explains how Speedwatch allows residents in Ramsey Mereside to take positive action against speeding drivers while also building a sense of community…

“There’s a stretch of road in Ramsey Mereside called Oilmills Road which is about three miles long before you enter our village. The limit goes from 60mph to 40mph and then to 30mph as you enter the village.

As individuals we found ourselves getting increasingly frustrated with the number of people speeding through our village. As the years have gone by, the village has grown and there are many more families and young children living here. We decided action had to be taken before something tragic happened.

Brian (Speedwatch Coordinator) joined a few of us one evening to talk us through the scheme and before we knew it we had 14 people on board and they were not just pensioners. We have professionals and parents in their 20’s to their 60’s who are passionate about the issue.

We set up Community Speedwatch in Ramsey Mereside just over a year ago and in 2015 we carried out a total of 32 checks on various days and at various times. We checked around 6,500 vehicles, of which almost 1,000 were speeding.

People volunteer as much or as little of their time. I was so surprised when we decided to hold checks at 4.30am to target passing through vehicles at just how many wanted to take part! In the first hour that morning, every vehicle we checked was speeding.

We’ve certainly found that our presence has an effect on drivers but if we allow the checks to dry up, even just a little, we notice people offending again so persistence really is key. That’s why in 2016 we hope to become even more proactive by with weekly checks.

Most people are very accepting to what we do. It’s more frequent that we receive the thumbs up over the fingers up! There have been occasions where motorists have pulled over after seeing us and apologised for speeding. There was another instance when a man, who had received a letter from us about his speeding, visited us one time while we were checking vehicles and again apologised for what he had done.

I would urge people elsewhere in the county to get involved. Not only are you helping to educate fellow motorists about speeding laws, you are making friends and building a community.”

To find out more about becoming a volunteer, email speedwatch@cambs.pnn.police.uk

 

A living nightmare

It was a normal Sunday afternoon. Jamie was at home with us in Wisbech on a break from studying Human Psychology at Leicester University. We loved having him back home.

Jamie was on cloud nine, as were we. He’d just found out that he had been accepted at Manchester University to study Human Rights Law. His future was looking so bright.

He told us he needed to pop into town and go to the cashpoint. As we muttered the words, ‘Ok, see you shortly’ we never dreamed it would be the last time we would get to see or speak to our son.

Too much time had passed and Jamie hadn’t returned home. We tried calling him but it wasn’t until Steve took a drive into town to look for him that we knew something wasn’t right.

The roads were closed off and I couldn’t get close. I saw a police officer and I expressed my concern that Jamie hadn’t returned home. She kindly took my details, told me to return home and try not to worry.

There were thoughts running through our heads. By this point we were sure something had happened. Perhaps he’d been hit by a car or mugged. Maybe he’d got a broken bone and been taken to hospital.

We couldn’t sit around and wait any longer, we decided to both get in the car and see what we could find out.

As we walked out of the house a police car pulled up outside and two traffic officers started walking towards us. Our thoughts were confirmed, something had happened. We just hoped in our hearts it wasn’t serious. They guided us into the kitchen and our worst fears were confirmed. Our son, Jamie, had been killed.

We discovered that Jamie had made it to the cashpoint and also bumped into a friend before attempting to cross Churchill Road in Wisbech. It was a traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing and he waited until it was safe to cross, like he was always taught as a boy.

However, as he stepped out into the road, he was hit by a motorist driving at least 58mph on what was a 30mph road.

Jamie was just 22 years old. You couldn’t have asked for a nicer lad. He was intelligent, soft hearted, always there to help others. He had a huge circle of friends. He was perfect.

There’s not a day that goes by when we don’t think about him. There’s not many days gone by when one of us hasn’t shed a tear for him.

You watch the news every day and you hear about people being killed on the roads. You take a moment and think but then you carry on with your life. That is, until it happens to you. Then you are in a nightmare, a nightmare that stays with you and your family for the rest of your life.

Being behind the wheel of a car is like guiding a missile. Just a few miles per hour over the limit and you might shed a few seconds off your journey but you’ll leave people like us with a lifetime of heartache.

Steve Green & Tina Butcher