Speeding and inconsiderate driving are often the biggest factors that affect quality of life in communities. Although anti-social behaviour is often thought of in terms of stereotypes of graffiti and vandalism by young people, Home Office research in 2004 showed the biggest public concern (at 43% of those asked) was speeding. Excessive speeds also cause other problems, which are listed in the section on speed limits.
The police cannot be everywhere at once, so CSW can help fill the gap and provide monitoring and enforcement of speeds where there would otherwise be none. Current guidance on speed cameras requires there to be a certain number of serious crashes before a fixed camera can be installed but there may be community concerns about speeding in other locations. Indeed this may only appear safe as people are too intimidated to walk, cycle or ride there.
Communities, particularly in rural areas, often raise concerns that police rarely visit their areas or at best simply drive through. CSW schemes are sometimes criticised as a cheap and ineffective way to make up for the lack of policing. This misses the point that CSW is a useful element in a package of measures rather than simply a replacement for policing.
Through having regular monitoring of speeds at different times and places in your local area, rather than just complaints from individuals, a detailed picture can be built up as to where the biggest problems are. The data fed back to the police helps them target enforcement more effectively. This can include occasionally having a police officer carrying out enforcement with a CSW team. It can also help put speed enforcement up the police’s list of priorities, particularly following reforms in 2011 to give local people more of a say over policing. The data can also enable your local authority to prioritise better where changes may be needed to road designs and speed limits.