Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens praises Thornbury's 'caring' speed watch volunteers
VOLUNTEERS, who have given up hundreds of hours over the past three years to keep Thornbury drivers' speed in check and protect their community, have been praised in person by the force's Police and Crime Commissioner.
Sue Mountstevens joined two of Thornbury Community Speed Watch's six members, along with PCSO Dawn Golding who launched the initiative back in October 2010, to witness them in action during National Speed Enforcement Week.
Since its inception, the team has clocked more than 1,300 speeding drivers and monitored a staggering 52,273 cars, according to its latest available figures.
"They've done amazingly well and have got a really good record," Ms Mountstevens said. "They care and they are making a difference and that's what is really important.
"It's not about the people that they catch but the people who become aware of their speed.
"There is no such thing as a dangerous road, it's how we drive on these roads."
With the need for police in Avon and Somerset to make savings of £15 million over the next two years, volunteers stepping up to the plate to keep their neighbours safe is the only way forward, she added.
"With fewer police office and PCSOs, communities have got to step forward and take responsibility for their area," she said. "This is a positive step that communities can take."
Terry Osborne, Thornbury Speed Watch coordinator, said: "A lot of the time people don't even know what speed they are doing.
"We think we have made a difference. We don't see so many people speeding now." The group is currently focusing on four main roads in Thornbury, including Gillingstool, one of the town's biggest rat runs.
Volunteers are also regularly posted along Morton Way, outside the Anchor Inn and on Gloucester Road.
Sticking to the 30mph limit could make a difference between life and death for a pedestrian hit by a car.
A person run over is four times more likely to die of his injuries when hit at 40mph than at 30mph.
Once a driver is spotted speeding, the team make a note of the car make and number plate which they pass on to the police. Officers then search for the vehicle on their database and send a letter to the motorist, warning them they have been caught breaking the speed limit. The group has been recognised as an asset in the town and regularly receives requests from residents to monitor their street.
To join the speed watch team call the local beat team on 101 or visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk
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