Harrogate residents defend using their own speed guns

Pannal Community Speed Watch group volunteers - From left,  Cathy Burrell, Howard West and Mark Siddall (Group Lead).

Pannal Community Speed Watch group volunteers - From left, Cathy Burrell, Howard West and Mark Siddall (Group Lead).

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Publically-spirited Harrogate residents say drivers' behaviour when passing through their village on the way to Leeds has improved massively since they set up their own speed watch scheme.

But the unpaid volunteers of Pannal Community Speed Watch are keen to dispel some of ‘myths’ around their actions.
Pannal Parish Council’s Howard West said: “Everything in CSW is performed under strict rules dictated by the police - even the locations are their choice and risk-assessed by them. All volunteers have been trained by them, too.”
Since the CSW team, started 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.
During the initial deployment, the villagers spotted 18 speeding vehicles per hour.
But that has all changed now, they say.
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 how the new scheme is benefiting the residents of Pannal.”
Pannal is the first site in North Yorkshire to receive a fully operational Community Speed Watch group who are carrying out enforcement in two sites in the village.
The Pannal volunteers’ efforts have the full backing and support of North Yorkshire Police who have now embedded Community Speed Watch as a permanent part of the North Yorkshire Police roads policing strategy across the region.
In advance of the launch, a full risk assessment of the proposed enforcement sites in Pannal was undertaken.
The residents decided to take action because of worries their village had turned into a ‘rat-run’.
Pannal Parish Council's Howard West said: "Since the start of construction of the Leeds Road, Oatlands junction in Harrogate, vehicle drivers have sought every possible way to avoid that area, such are the continuing problems at rush hour.
The results of the Pannal Community Speed Watch scheme had been dramatic, he said.
"A dramatic reduction in speeding has been recorded in the village since the start of deployment in September from nearly 20 speeding vehicles per hour to only one or even none at the end of October.
"Heartfelt thanks are expressed to those volunteers who have given up their free time in an effort to make Pannal a safe place for its residents whether they are pedestrians or motorists.

Leading figures in the police visited Pannal recently to see the success of the scheme for themselves.
Tim Madgwick, Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, 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.”
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 educate road users on the effects their driving has on a local community.”
So successful has the speed watch scheme been , the last CSW session registered just one speeding motorist.
If a comunity believes it has a problem with speeding, a site of concern can be reported at www.northyorkshire.police.uk/communityspeedwatch