Residents could be armed with speed guns to clamp down on bad driving

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Residents will team up with police in their fight for road safety by pointing speed guns at motorists.

Police Scotland is hoping to roll-out a Community Speedwatch programme in Edinburgh. In England parish councils often made up of pensioners have been grabbing speed guns to clock motorists flaunting speed limits.

Members of the community wielding speed guns could be a familiar sight on the streets of Edinburgh as a new motoring safely initiative  proposal is examined. Picture: contributed

Members of the community wielding speed guns could be a familiar sight on the streets of Edinburgh as a new motoring safely initiative proposal is examined. Picture: contributed

The idea comes after an Edinburgh Council initiative called on cardboard officers, dubbed Pop Up Bob, to be put up on streets across the city to deter drivers from speeding. Yesterday Chief Inspector Alan Carson, outlined proposals to the council’s South West Locality Committee.

He said: “Community Speedwatch empowers local people to play a part in making the roads safer in their neighbourhood. Groups can purchase equipment and we will provide training on how and where to operate it safely. The groups are then able to carry out their own checks and report up to police any vehicles driving through over the speed limit.

“We will write to the registered keepers advising them of their speed and reminding them to obey the speed limits in built up areas. It is about monitoring rather than enforcement – a high-visibility deterrent to encourage drivers to reduce their speed, improving the safety and quality of lives of the local community. We are currently looking into running a pilot project in the south of the city.”

During a trial in Fife, trained community volunteers carried out roadside checks with specialised equipment including the Falcon and Unipar speed detection systems.

Labour Councillor Scott Arthur said: “I regularly receive complaints from parents about the speed of traffic on Buckstone Terrace and the wider A702 as it passes through my ward.

“I am simply unwilling to accept that a cardboard cut-out police officer and encouraging residents to undertake a “speed watch” is the solution to that problem. Indeed, I can’t believe the council tops up Police Scotland’s funding with £2.6m and is rewarded with this level of service. The Scottish Government need to provide our hard working cops with the resources needed to keep us all safe.”

Other councillors have welcomed the proposals.

Green transport spokesman, Chas Booth, said: “I warmly welcome moves by the police and council to train volunteers with speed guns. In common with most councillors, there are some speeding blackspots in my ward which despite action, are still causing real concerns for residents.

“While I recognise that volunteers cannot, and should not, replace fully trained and equipped police officers, they could prove a useful addition to the range of measures to combat dangerous and irresponsible driving. If this initiative prevents one child from being hospitalised – or worse – by a reckless driver, then it will be worth it.”