Elderly residents offered speed guns in new road safety initiative

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Vigilant Edinburgh residents are to be invited to team up with police in their fight for road safety.. by pointing their own speed guns at motorists.

Police Scotland is hoping to roll-out a Community Speedwatch programme in the Capital after the scheme has been used in England and trialled in Fife.

The idea comes after a council initiative called on cardboard officers, dubbed Pop Up Bob, to be put up on streets across the Capital to deter drivers from speeding.

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Chief Inspector Alan Carson, outlined the proposals to the council’s South West Locality Committee.

Volunteers will be given speed guns to help with enforcement. Picture: PAVolunteers will be given speed guns to help with enforcement. Picture: PA
Volunteers will be given speed guns to help with enforcement. Picture: PA

He said: “Community Speedwatch empowers local people to play a part in making the roads safer. 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.”

But Labour Councillor Scott Arthur said: “I regularly receive complaints from parents about the speed of traffic on Buckstone Terrace and the wider A702. 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.

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“The Scottish Government needs to provide our hard working cops with the resources needed to keep us all safe.”

Tory councillor Scott Douglas said: “While we undoubtedly need to take action to reduce speeding in Edinburgh, this is not the right way to go about it.

“Just like the ludicrous Po Up Bob cardboard cut outs, we are being increasingly presented with ways of enforcing speed limits but without police officers being present.”

Other councillors have welcomed the proposals.

Green transport spokesman, Cllr Chas Booth, wrote to police chiefs about the idea earlier this year and will ask Transport Convener Cllr Lesley Macinnes at Thursday’s full council meeting if the council has any plans for such a scheme.

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Cllr 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. 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 driving. If this initiative prevents one child from being hospitalised – or worse – by a reckless driver, then it will be worth it.”