back to article Neighbourhood watchers in Reading get speedguns

Police in Reading are today encouraging residents to join the Big Society and zap speeding neighbours with personal issue speed detection kit. The speedster who falls afoul of the personal speedguns gets two written warnings from neighbourhood police. Police may then take action on the third infraction. SPEEDNAUGHTY Be good …


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  1. Very Old Hand

    Been here for 18 months

    Been used around here (Wickwar,South Glous) for about 18 months all OAP's with hi vis coats & clip boards.I make sure i salute them when i pass.

  2. CaptainHook


    "He added: "The most impressive aspect was the number of motorists who supported the campaign by stopping and thanking those taking part in the initiative.""

    ah ha ha ha ha

  3. Trevor Marron

    It only takes the opinion of two people to get a conviction for speeding.

    It only takes the opinion of two people to get a conviction for speeding. If they stand before the Magistrates and the magistrates believe them over you then a speeding conviction is complete. The two people do not need to be police officers, just people who can be classed as able to reliably estimated the vehicle was speeding.

    So if they estimate a vehicle was speeding, then confirm it with a device then the principle evidence would be the assessment, confirmed with the device.

    Whether the police would report someone under these circumstances is another thing though as it would dilute their role in the enforcement of the offence.

  4. Chris Miller

    Equally effective

    Put on a black jacket and trousers (with optional cap), borrow a hairdryer and stand by the roadside pointing it at oncoming traffic. Dramatic reductions in speed will result.

  5. Blofeld's Cat

    Hours of fun

    "Hello police? ... Right ... I'd like to report some sort of maniac is hiding in the bushes outside 22 Acacia Avenue ... Well he seems to be pointing a gun at passing cars .... Well yes I suppose he could be a photographer ... Sending an armed response unit you say. OK bye now."

    Let's wait for the headlines when the first "Dirty Henry" leaps out in front of a vehicle and gets flattened into the tarmac.

    <-- Hasta la vista, Minnie.

    1. Thomas 4

      Well said

      Been a long time since the Photographer Menace was brought to justice.

    2. Luther Blissett

      And while you're at it, why not arrest the Magistrate also?

    3. John Murgatroyd


      if the device is home-office approved for speed detection and measurement.

      None of the speedwatch/grass-your-neighbours gear is home office approved for that.

    4. Intractable Potsherd

      Uuhuuh - salute ...

      ... with how many fingers?

    5. g e

      Thank you!

      I guess having 'Wanker' shouted at you MIGHT sound a bit like that...

      "Thank you! I had no idea I was doing 30.06MPH! You live at number 37, you say? Gosh, you know I heard there'd been an outbreak of arson recently and they've still not caught the culprit. I hope you're insured..."

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Another head line grabbing idiot idea

    So how well is this going to stand up on a legal basis?;

    "So you clocked Mr Smith doing 150mph in his robin reliant"

    Where you trained how to use the equipment correctly, so that you did not clock a traffic light doing 40 mph

    Did you assess the radio emissions in the area, so that you did not clock a tree doing 60mph at surrey police HQ (CC trying new toy forget about the big radio masts)

    Has the equipment been calibrated and correctly maintained, or has it just bounced around in the boot of your car during the week, prior to being used on saturday

    Is it true that Mr.Smith fired you last week, for wasting your time at work doing stuff for your NAG

    Bearing in mind the trouble proffesional police officers can get into when seriously challgened on the use of radar guns, can anybody see a few arguments that might be used in a court here, at great expenses to the tax payer when the amatuers are involved?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A good initiative

    This is relatively old news, SpeedWatch has been operating in Staffordshire for at least two years.

    Sadly this is necessary as many police forces don't seem to bother with enforcing traffic regulations away from the motorways. Many motorists, who presumably drive carefully and at reasonable speeds in their own neighbourhood, will drive through another village without bothering to slow down at all, so some deterrent is needed.

    I'd be happy for all these schemes to be replaced by average speed systems to control the speed of traffic though villages.

  8. dotdavid
    Big Brother


    "The most impressive aspect was the number of motorists who supported the campaign by stopping and thanking those taking part in the initiative."

    Yep, one person did this. That was one more person than we expected.

    1. Captain DaFt
      Thumb Up


      And I have to wonder just how sarcastic his "Thank you." was?

    2. Blofeld's Cat


      He was so drunk that he could hardly stand.

    3. Knochen Brittle

      Professional police officers?!?

      Well, there's a confusing [propaganda] concept!

      AFAIK them, they are usually a 'laws for u, not us' political army arranged in ranks of varying incompetence and malice, from which any honest characters accidentally hired are weeded out early by unnatural selection.

      Maybe that is related to the fact that police [or King's Local Dragoons] never were, nor can ever become, a profession.

  9. squilookle


    "He added: "The most impressive aspect was the number of motorists who supported the campaign by stopping and thanking those taking part in the initiative.""

    By "thanking", they mean "shouting abuse at", right?

    Otherwise, I don't believe it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This won't be open to abuse at all.

    No, I can't see friends of the speeders being ignored, while the man from no 28 with the unkempt lawn who lets his dog piss on the daffodils gets busted for being 1mph over.

    We had one of those 'smiley face/sad face' speeding things on the entrance to work's car-park. I can't honestly say i'd ever seen it give a happy face to anyone. I thought it was a reflection of my general mood in the mornings.

  11. Tom_

    Sounds fun

    Can I get hold of a speed radar gun thingy and then drive towards my neighbours car at about 40mph, leaning out of the driver's side window, pointing the radar/gun thingy at his numberplate?

    Or is that just too silly? :)

    1. Tim Parker


      > By "thanking", they mean "shouting abuse at", right?

      > Otherwise, I don't believe it.

      Why not ?

      1. squilookle

        @Tim Parker

        Good question.

        Firstly, I believe a fair sized chunk of people will be against the idea for various reasons ranging from finding the scheme intrusive to having strong feelings about speed cameras for whatever reason.

        Let's ignore that group for a moment and focus on those who will support the scheme, and you will still have a significant number - speeding is a problem on my street and some of my neighbours are pretty passionate about it.

        Can you really see people stopping the car (possibly having to find a safe place on the street to park), getting out of the car, walking up to the people taking part in the scheme and saying "thank you"?

        It just sounds too contrived for me to believe.

        I'm not saying people won't show support the scheme, I'm sure they will, but I don't believe an impressive number are "stopping and thanking" them.

        Several people on this thread have picked up on the same quote, so I believe I am not alone.

  12. s. pam

    Give them the One-Fingered Solute

    What an excellent opportunity to challenge this unapproved use of tax payer money, and baffle them in court with technology warfare.

    Run 1: attach jammer to front of car, set it to record 124Mph, set video camera on to your speed, do speed limit

    Run 2: drive up to them at 3 Mph over limit, abruptly slam on brakes and stop beside them. Offer them pr0n magazine

    Run 3: drive at 10% over limit

    Odds are after 2 they'll be complaining, so you go to court. You produce video of event, speedo, then DEMAND to see the calibration certificate AND the training certificate for those with the camera as ACPO dictates.

    When they can't produce, you file suit under EU Human RIghts Act for unfair arrest.

    Guarantee this'll fuck their heads up. Of course you could just advocate open vigilanteism, but that's for others to do.....probably would work better to have a paintball gun and paint their gun eh?

    1. g e

      Dear concerned speedgun-toting neighbour

      We all know where you live. Of course we do.

      You're a f**king neighbour you moron.

  13. Alister Silver badge

    a good thing

    Why is there this perception in the UK that you should be able to drive as fast as you want, where you want, and exceeding the speed limit is OK, and therefore that anyone who tries to enforce the speed limit is wrong?

    The argument against fixed speed cameras has always been that they are purely used as income generation. Well, with the majority of these schemes, it is not about income, it's about getting people to drive safely, as it should be.

    I think these schemes are a good idea, and I don't see why they would lead to "village feuds" either, if you live in a village or small town it is unlikely you would speed through it anyway. Peer pressure to get people to slow down seems to me to be a much better idea than blanket fines.

    1. Liam Johnson

      exceeding the speed limit is OK?

      The problem is that there are lots of ways to drive dangerously without excessive speed. You can see plenty of people on the roads, talking on mobile phones, shouting at kids, gossiping, reading maps, swerving across lanes or just generally not concentrating on what they are doing. All these people get away with their dangerous driving because the “safety cameras” just check speed.

      It then depends how you weigh these issues. Is the safer driver the one who occasionally hits 35 in a 30 limit or the one who drives as 20 because they are concentrating on something else?

      1. Alister Silver badge

        other issues

        Yes I agree, there are lots of other ways that people drive dangerously, but that shouldn't be used as an excuse to ignore speeding. Indeed, there is a case surely to have the neighbourhood watch types report drivers for these other offences too.

        In answer to your question "Is the safer driver the one who occasionally hits 35 in a 30 limit or the one who drives as 20 because they are concentrating on something else?" then I would say they are equally as dangerous, for different reasons.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Because we are fed up with seeing people drive like total tw@ts on the roads, and getting away with it. But If you do 65mph in a 60, even for a good reason like overtaking, you can be penalised for it.

          Speeding is an easy target. I'm not advocating doing 60mph in a 30, but doing 65 in a 60 or 80 on a fairly quite motorway isn't exactly crime of the century. But to the CPS it is, because we know its easier to prove with a radar gun that someone was speeding, than to prove that someone was just following someone 2" from thier rear bumper without many camera angles.

          That scum who got found guilty of a public order offence yesterday (burning poppys on armastice day, and chanting anti British slogans) got fined £50. Yet I get caught at 74mph in a 70, and get £60 fine. Justice?...

          1. Knochen Brittle

            @ AC4Justice

            The difference is he was being stitched up for political 'thought-crime' a.k.a. free-speech, whereas you were merely being taxed the neo-hypocritical way. Neither is just, but your DM-style-whinge fails for implying another innocent party should be more heavily penalised for not being as common as dirt.

            But even if he gets 10 years in jail, you still have the same problem [or, in fact, a worse one, as you'll then be made to cough the corresponding parking-tickets for his upkeep].

            Now be brave -

        2. Liam Johnson

          re they are equally as dangerous

          Sorry, can't agree with that at all. But perhaps that has something to do with me seeing literally hundreds of people who drive daily at 28-35 without causing a single accident. If they hit the top part of that range at the wrong moment, they get a fine.

          The only accidents I have personally witnessed were people not concentrating on what they were doing. In two of those cases, people ended up in hospital.

          Actually having an accident seems more dangerous to me than having a bit of variability in your speed.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: exceeding the speed limit is OK?

        My personal view is that the safe speed to drive at is based on the condition of the road, the vehicle, the driver and the weather, as well as the possibility of hazards.

        This means that there are many occasions when the SAFE speed is actually a fraction of the number written at the side of the road. e.g. A narrow street in a residential area, with cars parked both sides, during a school holiday, is a crawl down the road exercise, as you will not see the kid until he is stood infront of your car, regardles of the 30mph signs. (*)

        Conversly, if you are on a motorway, with no traffic visible in either direction, the speed you drive at is not really an issue.

        What we need is less focus on speed, and more focus on dangerous driving and due care and attention. Unfortunately this has to be done with people, and not gadgets.

        (*) this is not a random example, and i have seen police vehicles going down this street in these condition at more than a safe speed.

    2. despicable me

      Get orf my land!

      "I don't see why they would lead to "village feuds" either, if you live in a village or small town it is unlikely you would speed through it anyway. Peer pressure to get people to slow down"

      You don't actually live in a village or small town, do you. Forget Ambridge, think Somalia.

    3. Leona A
      Paris Hilton


      The speeding thingy always has drivers up in arms, but its really quite simple, a road has a speed limit, your car is fitted with a speedometer, match the value on the speedometer with the speed limit and you don't have a problem, Simplz! Why do drivers find this so difficult?

      << Paris, as I'm sure she's been done for speeding :)

    4. Monty Burns

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      "Peer pressure to get people to slow down seems to me to be a much better idea than blanket fines."

      In the early 90's this was the really effective way to reduce drink driving. Sadly this seems to have gone away now and I know a lot more people who drink drive now than did then -I'm sure the fines/penalties are probably far worse now.

      Peer pressure rules.

      (Note, i said i KNOW, not I have FRIENDS)

      1. Alister Silver badge

        think of the badgers

        Actually, I do live in a small rural town...

      2. Jason 24

        Picture the scene....

        It's 3am, your on a four lane motorway cruising at 70, not doing anything wrong.

        Then you hit a 50mph average speed check area. You look around, there's no head or tail lights in sight, there's certainly no workmen about, yet your forced to drop to 50.

        Is there really any logic to that?

    5. David Evans
      Big Brother


      In theory you're absolutely correct, speeding in villages should be discouraged. The problem is that the kind of people who would be most attracted to involvement in these schemes are the last people you'd actually want to do it. A bit like politicians in fact.

    6. Anonymous Coward

      Well said!

      I almost always tend to stick to the speed limits, even more so now just to save on fuel costs!

      £1.38/litre for diesel and slamming your foot to the floor, watching the fuel gauge drop quicker than a pair of Paris'...yeah well you get the point!

  14. Pondule

    Does this make Reading more car friendly

    Only yesterday Reading was voted as the least car friendly town in the UK.

  15. OffBeatMammal

    pre-war Germany?

    not wanting to mention the N--i's but.. didn't they encourage members of the public to encourage in just this sort of behaviour as part of their expansion in power....

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Problem Solving Award in 2010

    "Speed Watch, has been running since 2001...the scheme, which has recently clocked its millionth speeding motorist"

    1,000,000 speeding motorists? That doesn't sound like problem solved to me, that sounds like problem very much still exists.

  17. playtime


    @Very old hand

    Or were you just showing them how tall Kyle is?

  18. Steve Brooks

    problems, just wait.

    Here in Aussie land they have a system in the country towns that's needed a great deal, you see our country towns aren't like yours, there could be a 1,000klms from one town to the next, so if you are an officer positioned in a small country town everybody knows you, you know everybody, and being a social outcast in such an isolated place is a problem. What they do is, every 6 months or so they have a speed compaign using coppers from a DIFFERENT little town. They move into town for a week and go crazy booking people for speeding, illegal turns etc, and then they go back to thier own little town where they can be the beloved local copper, leaving the local copper to continue being that towns beloved local copper.

    No doubt down the pub all the locals whinge to the beloved local copper about how that bloke that came for a week while he was away was right bastard and they would hate to live in a town where he was stationed. Now this system could be a boon to our country towns, in a week there would be brawls outside the local pub with tough aussie blokes threatening to glass other tough aussie blokes cause he got booked for speeding by him and....well....maybe not such a good idea.

    You see you can always move the coppers around if they pick up a bit of local enmity, but if you live in that town and people get a disliking for you over your zeal to keep the bastards under the speed limit you've got nowhere to run or hide!

    1. stupormundi
      Big Brother

      civilian helpers

      Indeed! Such civilian helpers were called 'Blockwart'.

      If the motorists end up being fined, why not give the OAP a cut of the fee--say 20%? They'd be so darn motivated.

    2. Intractable Potsherd
      Thumb Up

      You don't need to risk invoking Godwin ...

      ... Communist regimes work(ed) the same way. At least one member of the Party in every apartment block, in your pub and at your workplace (usually one you knew about, and another you didn't). Total and utter shits, every single one of them, and I cannot see why we should not vilify the "volunteers" doing this as well - after all, they all have the same cry: "It's for the good of the community!".

  19. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Unfortunately I predict...

    ... more extensions of 30mph limits outside village limits, not to mention pointless rural 40 mph limits etc because someone's stood there with a speed gun and gone "OMG! Look how fast these people are going, it can't be safe!"

  20. Parsifal

    This is so open to abuse.

    All you need is someone with a dislike to you and wham a speeding ticket and points.

    There is no tangible evidence here, only the word of the person with the speed gun, no photographs proving who was in the car or photographic evidence of the speeding offense itself.

    It's an old analogy, but does the idea of a state where other people inform on others for minor infringements of the law sound familiar?, we only need state secret police ensuring that we are all politically correct and we're there.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    I wonder if they practice what they preach

    I'd like one of these speed guns. Then I could go round and target the folks involved - I wonder how many of them obey the speed limits....

    1. CaptainHook

      Obeying the speed limit

      I suspect all the people who would volunteer for this sort of thing obey the speed limit. They will also be the ones sitting in the middle lane of the motorway at 60mph and don't tend to bother with indicators.

      The trouble is when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, and when all you can measure is speed, then every problem is speed related.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pointless limits...

      More often than not "pointless" speed limits in rural areas are due to unseen risks. Case in point: Ilkley Moor Road where it goes into Burley Woodhead had a 20 limit slapped on it a few years back. Cue lots of outrage from not quite local people who use the road about it being pointless and not required, nanny state etc. etc. The thing is the reason that it was put in was due to a couple of the houses up there having had cars crash into their front rooms (more than once in one case) over the previous five years.

      Odd speed limits are usually there for a reason, just because you can't see why doesn't mean that it's pointless, it usually means that you're not a traffic engineer.

      1. Liam Johnson

        Ilkley Moor Road

        And were the people who crashed just a bit over the previous speed limit, or were they ignoring it completely? Reducing the limit to 20 will piss off a lot of law abiding people, but make no difference to those who ignore them in the first place.

        What do they do when the next boy racer lands in someone’s lounge? Reduce the limit to 10? To 5?


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