SPEEDING drivers will get warning letters from police after speed guns were handed to community volunteers.

Community Speed Watch schemes involve trained volunteers, in high-visibility jackets, monitoring the speeds of vehicles with approved, hand-held speed measurement devices.

Where vehicle speeds are inappropriate, a letter is now being sent to the registered keeper by the police with the aim of encouraging them to reduce their speed in future.

The community-driven road safety initiative has been launched across West Mercia following a successful pilot in Worcester.

The scheme is being supported by the Safer Roads Partnership team within Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, but will be managed and run by volunteers.

While the scheme is already well established within Warwickshire, West Mercia’s Community Speed Watch pilot has been in operation since May and a number of additional sites will be launching across the region in the coming months.

Rod Reynolds, Safer Roads Partnership Manager, said: "Enabling local communities to take an active role in addressing concerns about speeding traffic allows us to be more responsive to the needs of local communities and will enhance our road safety and casualty reduction strategy.”

Ian Connolly, Community Speed Watch Coordinator for the partnership said: “We’re very pleased with the results so far from the pilot.

"The local volunteers there have already carried out a number of speed monitoring sessions and warning letters have been sent out to motorists who were exceeding the speed limit.

“The aim of the scheme is not to catch as many speeding drivers as possible, but to encourage them to drive within the speed limit.

"Feedback from group members suggests that motorists visibly slow down when they see the volunteers by the roadside in high-visibility jackets, which is a positive effect in itself."

A Community Speed Watch scheme is initiated when speeding traffic has been identified as a community road safety concern by a parish council, safer neighbourhood team or community forum.

The area must have a 30 mph or 40 mph speed restriction. Speed data collected by the Safer Roads Partnership must show that speed levels do not meet the national industry requirements for police enforcement and no other enforcement activity should be in place.

There must be at least six volunteers in each Community Speed Watch scheme and speed checks must be conducted by at least three volunteers at any one time.