Volunteer speed gun campaign raises concerns

MDB090918g2'Community speedwatch programme launches in Awsworth and cossal. John Hill,

MDB090918g2'Community speedwatch programme launches in Awsworth and cossal. John Hill,

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Belford Parish Council

Villagers wielding a speed gun on behalf of the police could be putting themselves in the line of fire with their neighbours, a councillor fears.

Coun Reg Carruthers raised the concern as Sgt Andy Pullen told members he was starting a recruitment campaign for seven Speed Watch volunteers to cover a 700-square mile patch from Seahouses to Wooler.

Coun Carruthers asked: “Do you not think doing this is going to cause a lot of trouble for them, for people who are standing there with the gun?”

He was told it was operating successfully in other villages, such as Rothbury and Swarland. Sgt Pullen said: “I’m sure there might have been words exchanged, but no assaults or anything of that nature.”

There would be only one £2,500 laser speed gun for that district, kept at Wooler because it would often be needed on the A697. Volunteers would be asked to work no more than a couple of hours.

Their findings would be used as intelligence for the police, who would give advice to erring drivers. Only police would use the gun to gather evidence for prosecutions. “I think it’s quite a promising scheme,” Sgt Pullen said.

Speeding in rural communities was a priority for the force because it was revealed as a major concern in opinion surveys.