WARWICK neighbours who braved the wrath of motorists on Emscote Road in a bid to reduce speeding, are claiming they have been let down by the police.
Volunteers were loaned a laser speed gun and other equipment by the Warwickshire constabulary after they raised the issue of speeding on the busy road, which is regularly crossed by hundreds of local schoolchildren.
Community Speed Watch is one of the initiatives being pioneered by the county force and although it cannot prosecute on the back of evidence from community groups, it can at least send warning letters to the owners of vehicles whose registration numbers are collected.
Between March 30 and May 20 the Emscote Road neighbours clocked some 1,060 motorists driving at 36 miles per hour or more. A quarter of those were doing between 40mph and 56 mph. But the volunteers say they feel they were wasting their time after learning that less than one in four of these drivers was actually sent a police warning letter.
One 60-year-old member of the group said: “I feel like we’ve been duped.It took a lot of our time to collect that information, often being hooted at and in some cases verbally abused by passing motorists. Now we find 75 per cent of those whose car numbers we collected have not even been sent a letter.”
The group learned this after submitting a Freedom of Information request to the police which revealed that only 248 letters had been sent out. Local officers said they simply did not have the resources to send out more.
But the volunteer, who asked not to be named, said: “How many other community groups in Warwickshire have been encouraged to borrow this laser gun equipment only to find that nothing is done with the information collected? I have written to the new police commissioner as I feel we were just wasting our time.”
Disturbingly, the group discovered that the majority of offending motorists lived locally and that speeds actually increased between 3pm and 4pm when the children left school.
A police spokeswoman said the volunteers played an important role and were a visible deterrent to motorists.
She added: “Community Speedwatch is a community led initiative consisting of local volunteers who provide a visible reminder through the use of signage, speed monitoring equipment and high visibility clothing to motorists to watch their speed and slow down.
“Their role is important and is valued by Warwickshire Police.
“Community Speedwatch carrys out ‘speed monitoring’ and those believed to be speeding are not reported for speeding offences because this can only be done by an officer. Their role is to act as a visible deterrent and reminder to motorists. However Warwickshire Police, where resources allow, also provide a written reminder to motorists believed to be driving over the limit by sending them a letter. This service is also provided by volunteers.