Community RoadWatch – Briefing for Wandsworth Living Streets


It has existed nationally for some years. Only now is the Met rolling it out in London.

Why Community RoadWatch can help build respect for Speed Limits

  • 90% of offenders don’t re-offend. The logic is that enforcement is only one factor in getting speed limits obeyed; educating drivers and raising their awareness of the issue are also important.
  • Involvement of residents has several benefits: These include raising community morale that the Police are enforcing speed limits on local roads, and not just the principal routes; providing drivers with visible evidence that obeying the speed limit is something local people care about; and having residents and Police work together.
  • Where repeated speed limit violations are detected, CRW provides evidence for engineering measures to be put in: e.g. painting speed limits on road surfaces, bollards, speed bumps etc.

What Community RoadWatch involves

Volunteers from the community, working with the Police accompanying them, measure the speed of vehicles and note their number plates and vehicle descriptions. The threshold for subsequent police action is based on the ACPO formula: Speed Limit + 10% + 2mph. On a 20mph road, this involves recording drivers driving in excess of 24mph; on a 30mph road, drivers exceeding 35mph.

The Police will contact the registered owners of these vehicles. They send an advisory letter to them. Up to 3 such warning letters can be sent for repeated speeding before further action is taken.

Community RoadWatch does not involve the Police taking enforcement action forthwith. So, during a CRW operation, the Police will not give chase to speeding drivers.

Making sure Volunteer Residents feel secure:

  1. The Police are with Volunteers at all times.
  2. Volunteers are covered by TfL (Transport for London) insurance.
  3. Volunteers never take part in an operation on the road where they live (in order to make sure that possible neighbours do not detect who they are).
  4. Volunteers never have to attend court.
  5. Each operation usually only takes about one hour. (There now exist apps on mobile phones which some drivers have that alert other drivers in the vicinity to a speed detection operation)

Each Volunteer undertakes to:

  1. Read and understand the Community RoadWatch Volunteer Briefing given them by the Police.
  2. Sign an attendance sheet.
  3. Wear a fluorescent jacket (issued by the Police).
  4. Not try to stop or slow vehicles down.
  5. Measure the speeds and note the details of vehicles exceeding the ACPO guidelines.

What Volunteer Residents actually do: Work in pairs

One volunteer operates the Pro-Laser 4 hand-held speed detection devices. You hold this, point it at oncoming vehicles, peer through the view-finder, and press the trigger for a second or two. The device measures both distance from the vehicle and its speed. The device has no memory. So the volunteer calls out the speed to the second volunteer.

This second volunteer writes the speed down on a Sheet, and records Number Plate details and, if possible, colour and make of vehicle.

Materials provided to the Volunteer Residents

These include a Briefing Sheet from the Police present; issuing Hi-Viz jackets; Attendance Sheet; an Advisory note re what to do in the event of a motorist stopping (basically, leave it to the Police to handle); and instruction in the use of the Pro-Laser 4 detection devices.

How Streets are selected

There are various ways the local community can recommend to the Police streets where speed detection is needed. Ward Councillors get in touch. Local residents can get in touch. And local groups (for example, Wandsworth Living Streets) can make suggestions.


Filename: BRIEFING – How CRW Works