Extra speed check camera vans to target Norfolk's 'village speeders'

Speed check

More speed checks are to be carried out on rural roads in Norfolk. - Credit: PA

More speed camera vans are to take to Norfolk's network of rural roads to target motorists speeding through villages.

Two special smaller vehicles more suited to narrow lanes are being added to the county’s fleet of enforcement vans with cameras watching for motorists dangerously breaking the law.

New speed check vehicles will be more suitable for narrow rural roads.

New speed check vehicles will be more suitable for narrow rural roads. - Credit: Norfolk Police

Police and crime commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie, who has made improving road safety a key priority in the new policing plan, has spoken of the problem of speeding in rural locations.

He said people were “frightened of walking through villages and they shouldn’t be”.

Getting tough on village speeders was “very much on the radar”, he said.

“It’s an issue that people particularly in our rural villages feel very sensitive about because in some there aren't particularly wide pavements,” he added.

A 40 mph sign in Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt

A 40 mph sign on rural road in Norfolk - Credit: Ian Burt

“There are cyclists, dog walkers, horse riders, pedestrians and with our large older population pedestrians aren’t particularly quick on their feet. And if someone hammers through a village going far too fast and people cannot get out of the way, even if there isn’t an accident it creates conditions of fear.”

It comes as figures show in 2021 the county’s volunteer Community Speed Watch groups, predominantly in small towns and villages, clocked 16,962 speeding motorists.

Norfolk's newly-elected Police and Crome Commissioner, Gile Orpen-Smellie is officially sworn into t

Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie - Credit: Sonya Duncan

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Mr Orpen-Smellie said: “We are looking to encourage the creation of more Community Speed Watch groups and we are going to look at how we can support these groups better.”

Police are looking into whether it is making the best use of data collected by the groups and from other sources, including Speed Awareness Monitoring (SAM) signs that record and display a speed message to passing motorists.

Electronic speed signs

Data from electronic speed signs is to be used to target more speed checks in villages - Credit: Archant

There were 35 fatal accidents and 315 serious collisions, many resulting in life-changing injuries, on Norfolk’s roads in 2020.

Speeding is one of the so-called ‘fatal four’ factors behind serious accidents, together with drink or drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone.

As well as more police focus on villages and small rural roads, new CCTV and average speed cameras are to be installed on A11.

Community Speed Watch volunteers in South Norfolk caught 280 drivers in November. Picture: Matthew U

A Community Speed Watch volunteer. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Mr Orpen-Smellie said the “real answer is education not enforcement”, pointing out many people speeding through villagers are locals.

“Years ago people regularly got in their cars having had far too much to drink. Now that’s completely unacceptable. We need to try to get the same with speeding,” he said.