Policing in this country is always most effective when the police and the local community are working together.
This is obviously true when it comes to tackling crimes such as burglaries.
The police cannot be everywhere at every moment of the day or night. So they have to rely on good local intelligence.
This is why it is important that we report crimes. The police may not have enough evidence to bring prosecutions with everything we report, but it helps them to build a picture of what is happening, and this can lead to criminals being caught. The police will notice patterns of activity and particular methods of operation on the part of a criminal – almost like a fingerprint.
There is another area where we can help the police and where the police can help us – speeding.
In recent years I have noticed an increase in the number of people contacting me about speeding motorists.
While this can happen anywhere, those who feel most vulnerable are often in some of the smaller townships and villages in the Rotherham district who feel a long way from a police station. They have signs at the entrance to the village saying what the speed limit is, but still motorists speed.
One way of doing something about this is to get involved in Operation Slow Down.
This is a police led scheme that seeks to work with a local community in an urban or rural area to get motorists to reduce speed when travelling through.
There are now a number of these Speed Watch schemes in place across South Yorkshire, including Rotherham district – there are two in Maltby, for example.
A Community Speed Watch Group needs to come together. These are volunteers from the community who will meet with local police to consider the issue and possible sites.
If a site is identified and plans go forward, the volunteers will be trained in the use of a laser speed detector.
Working with a police officer, the Speed Watch members in high visibility tabards will log cars travelling above the designated speed limit.
This is all highly confidential information and must be given to the police who will take any further action.
The aim of this is not to demonise some motorists but to remind all road users of our collective responsibility to keep one another safe.
Speed can kill. We need to kill our speed. Community Speed Watch can help.