Police deploy cardboard cut-out officers to slow traffic

CARDBOARD cut-out police officers complete with speed guns are set to be used to slow danger drivers.

Pop-Up Bob, a life size cut out of a Police officer with speed camera in the village of Lundin Links, Fife. Picture: SWNS
Pop-Up Bob, a life size cut out of a Police officer with speed camera in the village of Lundin Links, Fife. Picture: SWNS

The pop-up police officers – dubbed scarecrows – have been used across Fife to crack down on drivers who exceed speed limits and endanger communities.

Now their use is being examined by officers in Tayside Division, keen to explore every means of protecting residents from harm.

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Communities across the region have become increasingly vocal about the need to curb speeds. Many fear the roads have become rat-runs for commuters and heavy goods vehicles and that speeds are on the increase.

In response, local officers have been liaising with colleagues across the country to find out how they tackle the problem.

One idea is to employ a cardboard cut-out officer – based on a real life Fife policeman – in high-visibility jacket and pointing a speed gun at motorists.

He has been deployed across Fife – popping up in Cowdenbeath and most recently in Lundin Links – with great success.

The idea has the backing of Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser who said he was pleased to see Police Scotland casting its net so widefor cost-effective ideas.

He said: “Reducing speeding on twisty country roads is incredibly important. Rural areas are far more difficult to police and it is important that every effort is made to improve road safety.

“As ludicrous as they sound, cardboard cops, have proven to be a cost-efficient and effective way of reducing speeding on rural roads.

“Combined with high profile public awareness campaigns like the one fronted by Scotland rugby star Stuart Hogg, this could be an important means of educating motorists about the dangers of speeding in rural areas.

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“In Perth and Kinross there are a number of remote roads that act as rat-runs and the roll-out of scarecrow PCs could help prevent accidents and improve road safety.”

Sergeant Amanda Nicolson is among those considering what steps can be taken to reduce speeds on the roads of Perth and Kinross, studying concerns of residents in Kinross-shire in particular.

She said: “Road Safety is a priority for Police Scotland. While there are no immediate plans to deploy “pop up” police officers in the Perth and Kinross area as an enhancement tool to our existing speed enforcement activities, we are looking to learn from best practice elsewhere and are currently scoping similar initiatives in Scotland and England.

“This piece of work is at a very early stage and following a scoping exercise a decision will made in collaboration with the local community as to whether a pilot would be feasible in the area.”

Kinross-shire Councillor Willie Robertson said: “I have heard about the “cut out” policeman idea and do think it is a good concept. If it slows traffic coming into a village it must be a good thing.”

Mr Robertson is also keen to see the Community Speedwatch scheme resurrected and rolled-out across the region.