Community DriveSafe Awards

Volunteers who give up their time to encourage speeding drivers to slow down have been recognised at an awards evening hosted by Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd.

The Annual Community DriveSafe Meeting was held on Thursday (26th November) at Police Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, coinciding with Road Safety Week. Addressing the guests, the Commissioner paid tribute to the scheme’s volunteers before presenting awards, with Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Community Safety Chief Inspector Stephen O’Keeffe, to four exceptional winners.

Michael Freeman from the Watton-at-Stone DriveSafe group won Lead Volunteer of the Year, while the Bovingdon DriveSafe group won Team of the Year. Derek Skingle from the Digswell (Welwyn Garden City) team won Volunteer of the Year, and PC Derek Lewin, who works with DriveSafe groups in Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth, won the Volunteer Advisor of the Year. (Further details of their nominations are below.)

DriveSafe empowers residents who want to take action against speeding on their road or through their village. The fully-trained volunteers stand at the roadside monitoring the speed of passing vehicles and using speed display equipment that informs the driver of the speed they are doing. Motorists that exceed the limit of the road are sent an advisory letter and can even be visited by a police officer if they offend regularly.

David Lloyd said: “I would like to congratulate all of the winners for their efforts. DriveSafe is about empowering those people who want to make a difference to the community in which they live, and make roads safer for everyone. These winners not only embody that spirit, but they have also gone beyond that to enable, help and encourage others to do the same. I thank them and all of the DriveSafe volunteers for their efforts.”

Attendants were also given an update from the Commissioner on the running of DriveSafe over the last year. His Head of Policy and Engagement Dr Amie Birkhamshaw then also explained how the Commissioner’s new Road Safety Fund, which will be launched next year, will have benefits for groups wanting grants to improve safety on roads locally. There was also a question and answer session with the audience, the Commissioner, and Chief Inspector O’Keeffe.

There are now 320 DriveSafe volunteers across 30 active schemes currently running in Hertfordshire, while there are another 13 schemes in the pipeline. More than 5,700 advice letters have been sent to motorists since January this year.

Since last year’s Annual DriveSafe Meeting, the Commissioner has fulfilled his promise to centralise some of the administrative processes running behind the scheme so that volunteers could spend more time out doing speed monitoring and less time logging vehicle registration details so that letters can be sent out.

DriveSafe schemes can be set up if 10 or more residents or local businesses sign a petition expressing concern about speeding in a particular location. It requires at least three people to volunteer to actively run it and the speed limit of the road must be 30mph for safety reasons. (If your road has a 40mph limit or above, please contact your Safer Neighbourhood Team.) A police officer will assess the road for a suitable and safe location to conduct the speed checks.

If you would like to set up a DriveSafe scheme in your area, please access the petition via the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website or you can request one by ringing the Commissioner’s office on 01707 806100.