The Chairman invited Councillor R. Hunter to introduce the item and explain to the Board the background behind his request for the West Mercia Police Road Safety Team being invited to the meeting. In doing so he explained that he felt it was an important area for the Board to consider as speeding was a frequent topic of concern from residents. He reported to Members that he would like to understand more fully the criteria for speed prevention equipment being installed in various sites around the district and the role that Members could play in communicating the process of tackling speeding to residents in the District.
The officers from West Mercia Police Road Safety Team introduced themselves and confirmed to Members that they were no longer part of the Safer Roads Partnership and although partnership working was undertaken it was no longer the Safer Roads Partnership. Members were informed that the team was funded entirely through speed awareness courses.
During presentation of the item the following was highlighted to Members:
· In addition to covering enforcement the team dealt with various other areas of road safety including, campaigns, education, traffic management consultations. The work was carried out across various partnerships however most of the work was done on behalf of local authorities. It was clarified to Members that funding for the team was no longer received from local authorities but solely through speed awareness courses and that all funding from speeding fines was returned to the Treasury.
· A dedicated Collison Analyst and Business Data Analyst were responsible for looking at data and deciding on where thework by the team was carried out based on data collected. The number of fatalities and injuries were reported to Members and that there had been a slight decline in numbers over the last five years which was encouraging.
· Education, engineering and enforcement were the main approaches adopted by the team when dealing with road safety issues. Enforcement was the last resort of the three and a large part of the work was carried out in education. It was explained to Members that frequent campaigns were carried out with local communities, although it had been more difficult to undertake these in light of Covid-19 and that social media campaigns had played an important part in the education programmes. Engineering was the responsibility of the Traffic Management Advisors within the team and they provided a link between the team and the Local Authority. Members were informed that the vehicle activation signs, and speed limits were the sole responsibility of Worcestershire County Council as the Local Highways Authority. It was explained to Members that the enforcement approach was always data led, and the key priority was always to reduce the numbers injured or killed on the roads.
· Residents were encouraged to contact Parish Councils in the first instance if they had concerns about speeding in their area. This resulted in a more collective approach to tackling the issue. The team explained that The Road Safety: Community Toolkit was a guide that provided other options to communities rather than enforcement. It was agreed that this guide would be circulated to Members.
After the presentation Members were invited to ask questions of the West Mercia Police Road safety Team. In particular, there was interest from Members regarding the community programmes that were available and the process that needed to be undertaken by resident to embark on these projects. It was reiterated to Members that the preferred way for residents with concerns to contact the team was through the Parish Council or District Council, data would then be collected at the site that had been identified as an issue. If the data collected indicated the need for enforcement (or other methods) then action would be taken. The criteria for the Community Speed Watch programme was explained to Members and this included numbers of required volunteers and necessary safety measures in place.
Operation Snap initiative was explained in detail to Members in order for them to fully understand the procedure for residents to report incidents and upload dashcam footage. This had proved to be a successful initiative and had resulted in fines and driving points being issued.
Members were informed that all incidents where there had been a serious injury or fatality would be investigated by the Traffic Management Advisors and liaison would take place with Worcestershire County Council and appropriate measures taken. It was reported to Members that the level speeds were enforced within the National Police Chief’s Council Guidelines at 10% plus 2 and the 85th percentile was considered.
There was concern from some Members that the low numbers of Police speed detector vans in the District and that the number of speeding tickets issued was low in comparison to the number of residents in the District.
Members were advised that if they needed further information, they could contact the team who would be happy to help.
The Chairman thanked the West Mercia Police Road Safety Team for their presentation.
RESOLVEDthat the presentation by the West Mercia Police Road Safety Team be noted.