School Speedwatch underpins Witham SAT

A School Speedwatch session – carried out as part of a recent Surround a Town day in Witham – resulted in more than a dozen speeding offences detected.

The Speedwatch session, which saw pupils team up with officers from Essex Police, resulted in 15 speeding vehicles being stopped.

School Speedwatch involves police officers stopping drivers who are detected speeding on the approaches to schools. The drivers are then offered the opportunity to be questioned by school children rather than being issued with the usual penalty.

The school children ask the drivers about their driving behaviour, and the potential consequences of driving too fast with the aim of encouraging them to change their behaviour in the future.

One of the offenders failed an eye sight test at 10.7m – well short of the 20m required to legally drive.

Caroline Churchouse, communications manager for SERP, said: “School Speedwatch works in two ways, it’s an emotive way to engage with speeding road users while also educating the children about the importance of road safety.

“Many drivers initially feel that speaking to children is ‘easier’ than receiving penalty points, but quickly change their minds after being asked questions such as, ‘how would you feel if you ran me over’ by a 10 year old. It is a conversation that will stay with them for some time and we hope it deters them from speeding in the future.”

Organised by the Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP), Surround a Town sees resources focussed on a tight geographical area, often where there are high rates of collisions and casualties.

The initiative uses a combination of enforcement and engagement to highlight the importance of safe and legal driving.

The latest Surround a Town day took place in Witham on 10 September – with an additional 59 speeding offences detected by officers around the town.

Further to that, 41 people were found to be flouting seatbelt laws – with five drivers caught using a mobile phone while at the wheel.

Three arrests were made for drug driving – with other offences including no MOT, careless driving and not in proper control.

13 September 2019

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