Speeding drivers caught out by community volunteers in Harrogate

Pannal Community Speed Watch group - From left,  Howard West (with glasses), Mark Siddall (Group Lead) and Cathy Burrell.
Pannal Community Speed Watch group - From left, Howard West (with glasses), Mark Siddall (Group Lead) and Cathy Burrell.
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Community-minded Harrogate residents worried their village had turned into a 'rat-run' have already caught out nearly 20 drivers since they set up their own speed watch scheme.

Volunteers who joined Community Speed Watch in Pannal clocked 18 instances of motorists speeding in the 30mph zones on the approach to the village.

And their vigilence means the numbers of motorist breaking the law has dropped considerably in less than two months.

Since starting their activity at the beginning of September, the Pannal group have seen the number of vehicles speeding through the village drop significantly and the numbers appear to be staying low.

Community Speed Watch Group leader Mark Siddall said: "We have seen some great results from our first two months of being operational and are very happy with the scheme and how it is benefiting the residents of Pannal.

"The village is on the commute from Leeds to Harrogate and as such can get used as a rat run at times, so we were becoming increasingly concerned with the level of road safety in the area.”

The Pannal volunteers' efforts have the full backing and support of North Yorkshire Police who have now embed Community Speed Watch as a permanent part of the North Yorkshire Police roads policing strategy across the region.

Pannal is the first site in North Yorkshire to receive a fully operational Community Speed Watch group who are carrying out enforcement in two police approved sites in the village.

In advance of the launch, a full risk assessment of the proposed enforcement sites in Pannal was undertaken before all members of the group received comprehensive training from the police.

Last week leading figures in the police visited Pannal to see the success of the scheme for themselves.

Tim Madgwick, Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police and chair of 95 Alive Road Safety Partnership, said: “It’s clear to see that presence of the group in Pannal is having an impact and drivers are starting to take more care in the area and be more considerate in their driving behaviour. We will continue to support the group and look forward to seeing more great results.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan, said: “The results that Pannal have seen from just a couple of months of activity are really positive and they show how the scheme can have an impact on road users by educating them on the effects their driving has on a local community.”

So successful has the speed watch scheme been so far, following a number of sessions and an increase in awareness of the group’s enforcement activity in Pannal, their last session registered just one speeding motorist.

And motorists travelling through Pannal have been told there will be no let-up in the villagers' vigilence.

Pannal Community Speed Watch Group leader Mark Siddall said

“We are already made a significant impact on the level of speeding through the village.

"We fully intend to continue our support of the scheme and look forward to more positive results.

If a community believes it has a problem with speeding, a site of concern can be reported via the Speed Concern Report form on the North Yorkshire Police website at www.northyorkshire.police.uk/communityspeedwatch

The speed concern will be acknowledged by North Yorkshire Police Traffic Bureau, who will then follow the process of the Speed Management Protocol.