I’m looking to form a group of volunteers who will be trained, insured and supplied with equipment in order to monitor, report and raise awareness of speeding in the village.
My name is Alick Mighall. I’ve been living in Keymer for seven years and have three primary school aged children who attend the village schools.
For some time I’ve been concerned by the speed at which some vehicles drive through the village, especially around Grand Avenue and Ockley Lane, and particularly during the morning school run. While I know our local county councillor Kirsty Lord has voiced the concerns of local residents on this subject, like many, I’ve become frustrated by West Sussex County Council’s lack of action in terms of aiming to resolve the problem by introducing better signage and/or traffic calming measures. Further, Sussex Police don’t seem to want to prioritise resources to catch those who drive at excessive speeds on our roads, but there does seem to be increasing support by the force for two programmes, Community Speedwatch (CSW) and Operation Crackdown.
Having learnt a bit more about CSW I have registered a group for Hassocks and am looking for volunteers to help me run it.
What is Community Speedwatch (CSW)?
CSW is a national initiative where active members of local communities join with the support of the Police to monitor speeds of vehicles using speed detection devices.
Vehicles exceeding the speed limit are referred to the Police with the aim of educating drivers to reduce their speeds. In cases where education is blatantly ignored and evidence of repeat or excessive offences is collated (even across county borders), enforcement and prosecution follow.
Data that speed watch groups collect, once anonymised by the Police, can be used to petition local government to improve traffic calming initiatives in areas prone to speeding.
The scheme aims to cater for the problem of real or perceived speed related offending, and through partnership with the community it is to be used in circumstances that are necessary, justifiable and proportionate in order to:
● Reduce death and injury on the roads
● Improve the quality of life for local communities
● Reduce the speed of vehicles to the speed limit
● Increase public awareness of inappropriate speed
Speedwatch activity is not about interfering with neighbours’ behaviour; it is a proactive solution to improve the safety and quality of life for everyone in the community.
How will the Hassocks Speedwatch Group work?
The Hassocks Speedwatch Group would be made up of a co-ordinator (which would be myself) and a number of operators (six at a minimum). Working in pairs, we’ll monitor and log vehicles travelling at excessive speed along certain key areas which have been identified.
Ideally we’ll work with equipment that the group will have exclusive use of, enabling us to be fully self-sufficient. This would be a key benefit, because the group needs to be self-organising, with members determining the rota by which they’ll work, with collated data uploaded to Sussex Police by the co-ordinator.
What areas have been identified at present?
This is very much down for us to determine as a group. Like me, your reason for volunteering may be because you are concerned about speeding in your immediate locale. For me those areas are:-
● Ockley Lane
● Grand Avenue
● Manor Avenue
But additionally, having spoken to others I’ve added:-
● Keymer Road — at the Keymer end of village
● Keymer Road — between mini-roundabout and Stonepound crossroads
Other areas that have been discussed, which if we have bandwidth we should cover are:-
● Lodge Lane
● London Road — from Stonepound Crossroads to Garden centre
● The road out of the village from Greyhound pub to East Sussex boundary
While initially we should start on a small amount of locations, as part of training and risk assessment Sussex Police will assess and potentially validate as many locations as we feel we have the resources to monitor, so for interested operators I am open to suggestions as to what other areas might be suitable to add and why.
What level of commitment is required by volunteers?
● Initial registration and training will take 30–45 mins
● Initial training by Sussex Police will take 2 hours
● The amount of time we spend monitoring traffic and preparing data will be down to us to determine as a group
● We may also want to spend some time raising awareness of what we are doing and why within the village
How are volunteers registered and trained?
In the first instance, those interested in volunteering need to register as an operator on the CSW website for the Hassocks group. To find it select Sussex, then Mid Sussex, then Hassocks — Hassocks Speedwatch Group.
Once you have registered as an operator you need to complete some simple online training, which takes about 30 mins.
As soon as we have six trainer operators, Sussex Police will train us en masse, at a session which lasts about two hours, at a location in the village.
Volunteers are insured and are supported by neighbourhood policing team (NPT) staff.
Need more information at this stage? Or have questions or concerns?
Feel free to contact me in the first instance on firstname.lastname@example.org