Volunteers 'verbally abused by motorists' as watch group look for traffic hotspots

Community Speed Watch volunteers 'verbally abused by motorists' as group look for traffic hotspots <i>(Image: Archant)</i>
Community Speed Watch volunteers 'verbally abused by motorists' as group look for traffic hotspots (Image: Archant)

The Wallingford community speedwatch group have produced an interim report revealing excessive speeds in town hotspots with abuse given to volunteers by offending drivers.

Oxfordshire County Council received the report from the speedwatch group as part of their two-year programme in the town.

The group say since the launch of the programme in April they have already identified certain speeding hotspots.

One driver was caught travelling 54mph on Castle Street, a 30 mph road, council documents reveal.

It goes on to add how some volunteers have received verbal abuse from some offending drivers.

A Wallingford community speedwatch social media post on August 24 said: "It was encouraging to hear support for speedwatch from passing members of the public as we did our survey today.

"It more than makes up for the onslaught of abuse from cowardly passing motorists who feel their entitlement to get somewhere a few seconds earlier is more important."

The group's latest latest social media post said the group measured the speed of 64 vehicles passing a survey point in the town with 17 driving in excess of the 30mph speed limit.

The highest speed recorded was 49mph.

The speedwatch group are unable to release data from the programme due to guidelines from Thames Valley Police.

Group co-ordinator of the Wallingford speedwatch group, Lynn Bowyer said: “I have recently submitted an interim report to Oxfordshire County Council.

“This was done on an entirely voluntary basis to make the county council aware of the state of the speeding issue in Wallingford at the present time.

“The initial data gathering campaign is expected to take two years; however the work done since our launch in April of this year has already highlighted certain hotspots for traffic speeding and the considerable volume of speeding in and around Wallingford at our specific survey points.

“The report itself as submitted to the county council is private and confidential and therefore not for public consumption at this time.”

The full set of data will be due to be released in April 2025.

Ms Bowyer added: “This is because our data gathering work is ongoing, and to release such information now would go against the community speedwatch working guidelines from Thames Valley Police within which we operate, in addition to prejudicing the remaining campaign.

“At the conclusion of our data gathering campaign Wallingford community speedwatch will release a report on the findings we have made during the initial two-year work programme. “

It was proposed by Councillor Nigel Hughes, and seconded by Councillor Ailsa Charter that the town council would issue a public statement calling for respect for the speedwatch group’s work following the verbal abuse directed at the volunteers.

Mayor of Wallingford, Councillor Daniel Beauchamp said: "We are extremely fortunate to have so many volunteer groups in Wallingford to look out for and care for our community.

"Therefore, I am saddened to hear about the unpleasant and abusive encounters the volunteers of the Wallingford Community Speedwatch have experienced.

"Yes, there may be differing opinions regarding what volunteer groups aim to achieve but I would ask that a sense of civility and respect is maintained.

"By all means reach out, ask questions, gain a better understanding of what they are hoping to achieve but please leave the aggression behind."