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.


WE REVEAL THE MANY TYPES OF SPEED CAMERAS ON THE UK’S ROADS

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

  1. Lesley Brooke
    26/07/2018 at 10:58 am

    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.

  2. john c
    09/07/2018 at 10:51 am

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

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