Fife community pilots new roadside speed cameras in Scottish first

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A community council is set to be the first in Scotland to bring in new, automated speed prevention measures.

Giffordtown and District Community Council has bought Autospeedwatch equipment, and Police Scotland has agreed to work with it on a pilot project.

“Essentially it’s a form of community speedwatch, but it will be automated,” Michael Reilly, Community Police Inspector for Cupar and St Andrews, told North East area committee councillors on Wednesday. “It removes the need for volunteers to be at the side of the road in high-vis jackets. It’s in place in parts of England, but it’s never been brought into Scotland yet.”

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He continued: “We’re almost using this as a pilot scheme to see how it works.”

Speed cameras in Giffordtown will see the community store the data in a Scottish pilot project (Pic: TSPL)Speed cameras in Giffordtown will see the community store the data in a Scottish pilot project (Pic: TSPL)
Speed cameras in Giffordtown will see the community store the data in a Scottish pilot project (Pic: TSPL)

The concept of “Autospeedwatch” is meant to deter speeding in more rural locations. Essentially, the equipment functions as a speed camera to capture the details of speed offenders. However, the data will be entirely owned and managed by the community council.

“It will be responsible for that data - we have nothing to do with the data at Police Scotland,” Mr Reilly explained to committee members.

“The agreement we have in place during the pilot is that every week they will send us their top five hitters - their five highest speeders in that area. We will do the back-office work to find out who the keeper is and send a warning letter out.”

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Mr Reilly continued: “Hopefully that will be enough for drivers]to address their behaviour, slow down and make the community safer for walking, cycling, and riding horses.”

Autospeedwatch won’t allow the community council or police to issue fines or take points off of licences.

The concept of a community based speedwatch isn’t new, but the technology is.

The Fife Community Speed Watch programme has been up and running for a number of years. Police train community volunteers to carry out roadside checks with speed detection devices. Drivers who are caught exceeding the speed limit are sent warning letters. That scheme involves volunteers standing on roadsides in high-vis jackets. The new Autospeedwatch technology could change that if it is taken up more widely, but that could put more pressure on police resources.

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“I’ve got five ward areas here [in North East Fife],” Mr Reilly said. “If we’re getting every ward area putting this equipment up and sending information in, we’ve got to find the staff to do checks on vehicles and send out letters, etc.”

He continued: “We’ve agreed to do the pilot. We’ll review at the end and see how it's going, and see if it is effective or not.”

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