Page last updated at 13:38 GMT, Wednesday, 2 June 2010 14:38 UK

Volunteers in high visibility vests to trap speeders

Policeman with speed gun
Speed guns are used by police on the roadside

Fife Constabulary are asking people from Cupar and local villages if they are willing to volunteer to catch speeding drivers.

It follows concern from all six community councils in the area about excessive speed on local roads.

If the scheme goes ahead, volunteers would be trained in the use of a hand-held speed gun.

Details of motorists breaking speed limits would be passed to police, who would send out warning letters.

Local councillor Roger Guy told BBC Radio's "Good Morning Scotland" programme "the police cannot be everywhere, all the time".

He added: "So if people in the communities are genuinely anxious about speeding motorists in their villages, or their neighbourhood, then we're calling on them to volunteer.

Mr Guy accepted that "in an ideal world there would be more police officers around" to carry out the work "but that costs money".

Cllr Roger Guy
Councillor Roger Guy says the scheme follows pressure from local people

And he said the scheme was not about putting vigilantees at the roadside to carry out policing on the cheap.

He added: "If you watch cowboy films, vigilantees took the law into their own hands.

"But these are volunteers trying to improve community safety, and we'll have no powers of punishment.

"What we can do is report what we see to the police, just as if you live next door to people that are anti-social or play loud music."

"Citizens have the right to report those things. This scheme is just an extension of that."

Local people

Chief Inspector John McDonald of Fife Constabulary said "road safety is everyone's concern".

He said there had been "absolutely tremendous progress" in reducing road casualties across Fife in the past five years.

And, he reckoned, the Community Speedwatch initiative could be the next stage in continuing that trend.

But, Mr McDonald said local communities who wanted action against speeding motorists would have to accept that it was mostly local people who were responsible for breaking speed limits.

Chief Inspector John McDonald of Fife Constabulary
Chief Inspector John McDonald of Fife Constabulary

He explained: "Fife is a big tourist area. But on the whole, because of the peninsular nature of Fife, it tends to be a local problem from the local community.

"Some people's behaviour is good, and they care, and they invest in that because they're concerned about their own safety, and the safety of others.

"And there are some people who chose not to.

"The police's job is to go after those who don't care, and are really quite dangerous to others. We take that very seriously."

And, he said information from the volunteers could highlight individuals or problem areas who merit attention by uniformed police officers.

"Sometimes police tend to think we know everything. But we don't. And most community intelligence of real value comes from the communities themselves."

"So if the community are telling me that a particular driver is high-risk to the rest of the community, then we'll listen to that. And we'll do something about it."

A public meeting to discuss the volunteer scheme was due to take place on Wednesday night at 1830 BST, at Cupar police station on Carslogie Road.



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