Police pledge action on speeding motorists after problem highlighted as key public concern

Police will conduct anti-speeding operations in communities across South Yorkshire after motorists ignoring the limit emerged as one of the biggest concerns for residents in the county.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 1:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 1:41 pm
Enforced: Police promise operations to catch drivers ignoring South Yorkshire speed limits

Speeding was outstripped only by burglary and drug problems when police asked for feedback from the public – ahead of high profile issues such as gun and knife crime, assaults, youth nuisance and problem neighbours.

As a result, Chief Constable Stephen Watson has promised officers will carry out patrols to snare those who break the law and will also help communities to catch offenders themselves – though in those cases police action has to be restricted to issuing warning letters.

He said: “Very often, we will do speed enforcement with members of the public, ‘guarded’ by us.

“We end up writing a letter, telling them they have been seen under these circumstances. That seems to be going down really well.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“People’s hearts sink when they get the letter, then they are relieved they are not being prosecuted,” he said.

Police enforcement is often part of Operation Duxford events, regular operations where police provide a heavy presence in a specific area to tackle problems important to residents there.

Controlling publicity around that work is an element of its success, he said: “If we broadcast it across the whole piece, we get innundated by people asking if we have nothing better to do.

“The answer is no, in this area, no we haven’t. We want to give reassurance that we are not too busy, ever, to look at speeding issues,” he said.

Police could not “do speeding every day of the week, with hundreds of officers,” he said, but added: “From time to time we will do what people are asking us to do.”

Problems caused by off road motorbikers was next in the league table to speeding and police have invested in their own off road motorbike team to give them the capability to match those responsible for scrambling where they should not be.

Conventional road vehicles previously left the force at a disadvantage in tracking offenders, who could get away relatively easily be keeping away from formal roads.

The biggest concern among the public is house burglary and South Yorkshire Police policy is to attend every incident, where possible.

Often that will involve several different arms of the service, such as CID and crime scene investigators, being sent out.

However cases are dealt with depending on the circumstances, with crimes in progress getting the most urgent attention.

Details were provided at a Public Accountability Board meeting, held by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, to hold the chief constable and his service to account.