Campaigners to monitor Chichester drivers exceeding 20mph

SPEED campaigners will take matters into their own hands to combat people breaking Chichester’s 20mph limit.

Sarah Sharp, chairman of 20’s Plenty for Chichester, said the police had given them permission to monitor people’s speed in the city – and she is now appealing for volunteers.

“We struggled for so long to get this limit and we struggled for a reason,” she said of 20’s Plenty, adding the group still had to make an effort to ensure people maintained the limit in the city.

In other parts of the country, drivers have received heavy fines for breaking the 20mph limit.

However, Mrs Sharp said this was not a path she wanted Chichester to go down.

“I don’t think all these massive fines are going to make people happy,” she said.

“I thought a letter from Operation Crackdown saying ‘we’ve noticed’ would be enough to make people think.”

The group has bought a speed gun, at a cost of £190, to check people’s speed and they have made a note of number plates and speeds – which they hope to pass to Sussex Police.

The police’s Operation Crackdown invites people to submit names and details of bad and anti-social drivers, which the police will then keep a record of and possibly contact the owners.

“That’s what I personally would like – a little bit of light touch rather than big heavy fines.

“The thing is we don’t want to be heavy but we want drivers to have some feedback.

“We thought that by getting a letter through the post that might be a gentle reminder to drivers.

“We want people to be safe.

“We don’t want people to be fined but we do want people to observe these limits.”

Up to now, volunteers in Sussex were only able to monitor speeds on 30mph streets but permission had been granted for them to monitor 20mph streets as well.

“This police permission on 20mph is a huge breakthrough,” said Mrs Sharp.

“Rules on speed limits and enforcement are being re-written nationally. I am very pleased that Sussex Police now accept volunteers to help monitor compliance with 20mph limits on our city streets.

“Please would anyone with an odd hour to spare get in touch. I am very pleased that I already have a team of committed volunteers, but it would be good to have more.”

Mrs Sharp said the group had already found a lot of people driving at more than 30mph.

A 20mph speed limit for Chichester was approved last November by the county council and came into practice in July.

Anyone who wants to help monitor speeding vehicles in Chichester can contact Mrs Sharp with details of days and times they are available. Call 07789 843556 or email chichester@20splentyforus.org.uk