Community Speed Watch volunteers encourage more people to step forward

PC James Draper, of Braintree Community Speed Watch, chats with Paul Hayden and Martyn Phillips, of Rayne Community Speed Watch group
PC James Draper, of Braintree Community Speed Watch, chats with Paul Hayden and Martyn Phillips, of Rayne Community Speed Watch group

Two of the county’s Community Speed Watch volunteers are urging more people to get involved in reducing traffic speeds in their area.

Paul Hayden and Martyn Phillips are familiar figures in Rayne where they regularly monitor the speed of vehicles passing through their village.

The pair recently attended an open day at Braintree Police Station to explain to visitors why they volunteer their spare time to help keep people who use our roads safe.

Paul and Martyn want to spread the word about the importance of drivers keeping their speeds low, particularly through villages and built-up areas, and to encourage more people to set up Community Speed Watch groups.

Martyn has volunteered for more than 10 years and says that the number of motorists now recorded exceeding the speed limit has reduced from an average of 14 during an hour session to around three.

He said: “We generally speak with drivers ourselves. Most are sad that they are caught – they might understand why they’ve been stopped but I don’t think they appreciate it. However, we are challenged infrequently and we’ve never had anyone be aggressive.”

Martyn Phillips, of Rayne Community Speed Watch Group, talks to a young visitor at Braintree Police Station open day
Martyn Phillips, of Rayne Community Speed Watch Group, talks to a young visitor at Braintree Police Station open day

Paul says they want to encourage people in other villages and towns in the Braintree district to start CSW groups as ‘speeds can be horrendous’.

He added: “CSW is important because it makes motorists aware they are not adhering to speed limits.

“If you are doing 30mph and you hit someone, there is more chance of them recovering from that than if you are doing 40 or 50mph, when the percentage of serious casualties and deaths goes up.

“The higher the speed, the higher the death rate.

“It’s a speed limit so if it says 30mph but the roads don’t allow it, you don’t do 30mph you drive to the road conditions.”

Community Speed Watch is a traffic monitoring scheme, supported by partners within the Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP).  

Volunteers are trained by SERP to use hand-held speed guns safely and correctly and to record the speeds of passing vehicles.

The volunteers record the details of vehicles which are exceeding the speed limit by around 10%. These details are passed to the police, who will issue a letter to the vehicle owner, advising them of the dangers of speeding, and reminding them of the law. 

Nicola Foster, chairman of SERP, said: “Everyone starts their journey expecting to reach their destination, so each collision is almost certainly a surprise to those involved.

“However, the causes of death and serious injury on the roads are predictable and therefore preventable.

“One third of deaths and serious injuries involve speed-related factors, illustrating how important it is for us all to watch our speed. This is why our Community Speed Watch volunteers are so valuable to the Partnership and the work we are trying to achieve towards Vision Zero.

“They really are making a difference in their communities and I urge others to see how they can contribute.”

Want to start or join a Community Speed Watch group in your area?
If you are interested in forming or joining a local Community Speed Watch group, visit the Community Speed Watch webpages for more information.

You will be joining around 1,000 committed volunteers helping to make our roads safer by encouraging drivers to reduce their speed and contribute towards SERP’s Vision Zero strategy, which aims to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Essex roads to zero by 2040.


16 May 2022

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