Can community speed watch volunteers really give drivers a speeding ticket? Find out what they can and can’t do here

Community speed watch volunteers carry out a valuable role in helping the fight against dangerous drivers who speed in residential areas, but what powers do they have? Here’s all you need to know…

Here's what the community speed watch volunteers can do

Here’s what the community speed watch volunteers can and can’t do: West Midlands Police


What is community speed watch?

This is a scheme that allows volunteers to monitor the speed of vehicles passing through their community.

How do community speed watch volunteers monitor the speed of drivers?

Volunteers use hand-held devices that tell them the speed at which drivers are travelling through their ‘patch’. When a driver is going a set amount above the speed limit – typically around 10% – the vehicle’s registration, make, model and colour are recorded.

What happens to the details then?

A spreadsheet of the offenders’ details is then passed to the local police force, who are likely to also add them to a national database.

Will the driver get a ticket?

These schemes are predominantly about education, meaning no speeding tickets will be issued. Additionally, most schemes use equipment that is not of the correct specification, so issuing a penalty would not be possible on a legal footing.

So what’s the point, if tickets can’t be issued?

While penalties can’t be issued, officers will act if speed watch volunteers repeatedly report a vehicle to the cops. Each force is different, but, typically, police will act after two reports of a vehicle speeding. In such a case the owner of the vehicle will be sent an official letter reminding them of the law. If three letters are sent, the force will carry out further investigation.

What if a driver is caught driving at excessive speed?

Most of the community speed watch activity will take place in residential areas, with speed limits of 30-40mph, so driving at excessive speed is a serious offence. If a vehicle is reported for such an ‘offence’ the local police force is likely to take the case further with a ‘strongly-worded’ letter. Prosecution will not be possible from the speed watch team’s recording.

Will that mean motorists who drive excessively fast will get away with it?

No. Many forces say they will actively ‘target’ repeat offenders for ‘enforcement’.
Make sure you’re up to date with the new speeding fines that came into force April 2017

When and where can the speed watch volunteers operate?

The volunteers must operate in a location that has been approved by the police. They must also only operate during daylight hours.




Find out more about the UK’s speed cameras that will give you a ticket here.

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17 comments for “Can community speed watch volunteers really give drivers a speeding ticket? Find out what they can and can’t do here

  1. Nigel says:

    Last time I received a letter from the police, I sent them back some old spectacles , a bag of toffees , and some Arthritis cream!
    The silly old Fools,
    My advice to them is “get an Allotment.”

  2. Dickster says:

    All volunteer speed gun users should be trained by the appropriate police officers and to have a certificate to show their qualified to use such equipment
    and they should be given strict guide lines and parameters where to us it and any necessary limitation,
    An increase of10% recorded speed over the limit is not accurate enough ( I think ) to warrant a warning, in my view it should be 20%.
    Why would they want insurance?

  3. Knocker874 says:

    Wiltshire community speed watch in the Deverill record your speed in a 40 then use that speed say 36 they recorded to say that you are doing over 30.
    This is because they are standing in a 30…. naughty or what.
    Also they are not visible… I

  4. Mark P says:

    What training does a volunteer speed gun user have and should they be insured against any accidents?

    • SM says:

      They are always about at various spots through the villages on my way to and from work. I now spend more time looking at my speed on my dashboard than I do on the road ahead. Got a letter for doing 34mph in a 30 a while back and as I drove past the other day I heard one reading out my number plate to another to write down (doing 32mph just before going into 60mph zone). Put my foot down and thought may aswell make it 52mph as I got into the 60.

      • Dickster says:

        Commonsence would tell you the speed watchers would vary there viewing place and so they should, and you should not be watching your speed more than the road, every 10 seconds is sufficient, anyone would know if they were accelerating or not !!!!!

    • Dickster says:

      Of course volunteer speed gun users should be trained, they should be given guide lines where to stand and limitation,
      An increase of10% recorded speed over the limit is not accurate enough to warrant a letter, in my view it should be 20%.
      Why would they want insurance?

      • P Kevin says:

        I agree that all volunteer speed gun users should be trained by the appropriate police officers and should have a certificate to show their qualifications. They should also be given strict guidelines and parameters on where to use the equipment and any necessary limitations. I also agree that an increase of 10% recorded speed over the limit is not accurate enough to warrant a warning. I think it should be 20%. I think this would help to ensure that volunteer speed gun users are using the equipment responsibly and that they are only issuing warnings to drivers who are actually speeding.

  5. Terry Bull says:

    Can we have them in poole dorset, fed up with those ignorant drivers speeding down my road, it’s a 20mph limit and often they are doing in excess of 40mph, my son has a speed camera and shown the neighbours regular and I have contacted the police in poole several times and no one has been round

  6. Willie McBride says:

    I have just received a letter from Wiltshire Community Speed Watch about my vehicle speeding I have told them that is impossible as my vehicle and myself are based in Scotland and neither myself or my vehicle have ever been in Wiltshire all the letter had was the reg of my car and date no time and no vehicle details.

  7. Les Ranford says:

    I am part of a neighbourhood Speedwatch. We don’t use ‘guns’ but have a large digital display that can be seen by motorists quite a way off. Reducing speeding motorists through residential areas my seem petty to some but we regularly ‘clock’ motorists doing up to 50mph through our village (30mph signage) during those times that children are alighting from cars and buses going into the school. I’ve even seen a motorist speed into the school drop off point, drop the child off then as they return at speed, sticking a finger up at us as they drive by. Dumb, brainless or what. We are out in all weathers all through the year doing our bit to educate speeding drivers. It is pleasing to see that since we started this scheme in the village, the percentage of drivers that are clocked speeding, has reduced noticeably. Please don’t knock our community efforts as we are just trying to play our part and possibly stop a child being knocked down.

  8. Neil.h says:

    Why is the fella with the speed gun kneeling? If he really wants to get run over or catch more speeders he’s much better off laying flat down like a would be middle aged sas student.
    Life does get better!!

  9. Neil.h says:

    It is no secret that Police have targets to meet and the easiest of all are catching speeding vehicles.
    Take for instance a lady driver I know with over 50 years of accident and trouble free motoring Received by post a very scary official letter for speeding ..35 mph in a 30 zone(a very open zone and easy to make this error)the outcome was 3points plus a fine and one easy target caught .. Meanwhile her daughters garage along with 2 other garages were ram raided at 5pm police called where crime number was given for insurance other action and although there were eye witnesses non of these got to speak to the saddens me to say that this is where we are today.

  10. Lesley Brooke says:

    I have received one of these strongly worded letters about speeding, The offence took place over 100 miles from where my car was parked at the time the offence was said to have taken place. After complaining and asking for a full apology and my name and reg to be taken off the list it has been put on, I have so far only received an email saying sorry for the upset caused and further investigation will take place. This was a week ago,,,, still waiting.

  11. john c says:

    If I record cyclists speeding or ignoring red traffic lights on my dash cam will the police also prosecute

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