CRAFTY councillors have unveiled their latest weapon against speeding motorists – a cardboard cut-out traffic cop.
Residents will be able to commandeer one of four Pop Up Bob figures, complete with hi-vis jacket and speed gun, for two to three week deployments to help enforce 20mph limits.
Senior officers praised Bob as a useful and additional road safety tool but critics said real officers should be deployed instead.
Labour councillor Gordon Munro questioned the effectiveness of what he labelled a “token gesture”.
He asked: “We pay £2.6million for 54 extra police for our city. Surely this could be one of the tasks set for the 54 police we’re paying for? Unless we’re getting cardboard cutbacks in return for our money?”
“I would’ve thought if it was a true partnership they would be supporting it with policing. How effective are these going to be once drivers realise that’s all they are? Real police is what will inhibit driving.”
The Pop Up Bob cops are issued with advice suggesting posting him outside “on alternate days” in the hope of duping drivers into thinking he might be real.
Superintendent Mark Rennie said: “Alongside high-visibility patrols and safety cameras, the ‘pop-up Bob’ prop is used in areas to help deter speeding and is a visual reminder to drivers to make sure that they drive in a responsible manner.
“The cut out of a police officer holding a speed gun, which is not used in place of genuine officers, can be deployed to areas where speeding has been reported as an issue.
“Road safety is important to those who live and work in the city and as such is a divisional priority that we are committed to tackling along with our partners.”
Pop Up Bob is part of a new online toolkit of activities and resources to help communities reduce speeds and encourage more responsible and healthier behaviour.
It also includes tips on organising cycle rides in 20mph streets and can be downloaded from the council website.
Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “Our 20mph toolkit is about giving communities the resources to encourage and support safer speeds amongst the people who live there or travel through.
“We know many people in Edinburgh support 20mph so it’s really important that we help them to spread the word.
“In partnership with Police Scotland we’re giving people the opportunity to use Pop Up Bob as a visual reminder to residents and other drivers that they should drive responsibly.
“This is in no way a replacement for real officers but it means community members can do their own bit by deterring speeding in local areas where it’s felt to be an issue.”