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Plea for community volunteers to help wield speed guns
A PROJECT to tackle the problem of speeding motorists in Marlow is under threat after no volunteers came forward despite early support for the scheme.
Thames Valley Police and Marlow Town Council are working on launching Community Speedwatch, which has already seen success throughout the district.
The scheme sees residents volunteer to carry out speed-check operations in areas they deem to be speeding hotspots, with those caught over the limit sent a police warning letter instead of a fine.
But despite a popular speedwatch project in Hughenden that saw ITV news crews follow vigilant villagers, the call for Marlovians to get involved has been much less well received.
Town councillors want to make the a success as part of its wide-ranging long term ‘vision’ for Marlow.
Ian Wernham, chairman of MTC’s Planning, Environment and Transport Committee, said: "We have a number of residents coming to us with issues to do with speeding. For example we were approached to fund a moveable speed activated sign which we have now got.
"One of the parts of the Marlow vision was to include the local community more so we thought it would be perfect to launch a community speedwatch initiative.
"Thames Valley Police run them elsewhere in the district and are in agreement that bringing it to Marlow is a good idea, but unfortunately we have had no response and we just want some people to get involved.
"It helps us identify problem areas with speeding and it helps us help the police enforce the law - they can’t be everywhere at once. It’s a win win situation really.
"We all live in this town and surely we all want to make it as safe as possible for everyone."
Volunteers receive training from police and at first are accompanied by officers on the operations before stepping up to go out on in pairs or small groups.
Cllr Wernham said the scheme would focus on problem residential streets that the authorities may not be aware of, as well as main thoroughfares.
Inspector Scott Messenger, Marlow’s top police officer, said he is keen to get the project underway as soon as possible due to the strong community involvement in Princes Risborough’s scheme.
He said: "If you go to parish or town council meeting across my whole area, then speeding will always be one of the top issues raised. We’re constantly getting petitions to do more speed enforcement.
"At the moment it’s working really well in the Princes Risborough area, we’ve got a great buy in from the locals there. It’s really positive.
"The key to the success is the buy in from the community, so we’re really looking to get it going in Marlow and get some volunteers, the quicker the better.
"It takes a while to get the momentum going, but once it’s off the ground and up and running it should start to make an impact.
"Residents can then identify the areas, so rather than it being a top down, police led operation, if people come to us and say they’ve identified a problem with a particular area then brilliant."
Once several schemes are up and running they will be linked, with police being able to see where repeat offenders are caught across the district.
Motorists who consistently ignore the warning letters and are repeatedly clocked will be prosecuted, according to Cllr Wernham.
As well as Community Speedwatch, a Moveable Vehicle Activated Sign (MVAS) is also on its way, and will be placed at hotspots throughout the town once Transport for Bucks approves the locations.
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