Highgate volunteers ‘speed trap’ residents breaking 20mph limit

Highgate volunteers testing the equipment with police on North Hill

Highgate volunteers testing the equipment with police on North Hill - Credit: Archant

A Highgate project which sees neighbours given speed guns to enforce 20mph limits is “Big Brother-esque”, according to critics.

Volunteers trained a laser speed gun at cars on the North Hill Road, at the Highgate launch of a community roadwatch scheme last week.

The group were taking part in a Transport for London and police-led scheme, designed to enforce the 20mph limit on Haringey roads.

In the hour and a half the volunteers were there, around 64 cars breached the speed limit, with one motorbike ripping past at 53mph.

Haringey Council introduced the 20mph limit to improve road safety and tackle dangerous driving in February.

They will release statistics on speeding offences in September.

But the measure has been described as “Big Brother-esque” and a last-ditch attempt to enforce the 20mph limit.

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Mentored by police community support officers, volunteers will note down cars exceeding 10 per cent plus 2mph above the speed limit.

Letters will be sent out, but volunteers should not approach drivers in order to avoid any road rage incidents.

They will not be asked to monitor their own roads, to avoid setting neighbour against neighbour.

Cllr Bob Hare, who took part in the North Hill launch, said there was only one unfortunate incident.

“One person slowed down and gave a “v” sign, but he had been clocked anyway, so he’s going to be getting a letter soon,” he said.

Cllr Clive Carter, who took part in the exercise said that he liked using the laser speed gun, and might take part again. He said you have to keep a yellow dot trained on the vehicle driving on the road, and the instrument measures the speed of the car.

He believes volunteers will help TFL and the police, who do not have the facilities to enforce speed limits.

But Paul Soper, of Inderwick Road, says this is a desperate attempt to promote the 20mph limit which is “unenforceable” outside residential roads. He does not like the idea of residents being recruited to spy on neighbours and other residents.

The 68-year-old accountant found out about the scheme through the Stroud Green Residents Association. He said: “Of course it’s Big Brother-esque, absolutely.

“It just smacks of fascism – you are expecting local residents to inform on other local residents. Where do you stop when you start down that particular road?”

“I just find it creepy.”

But he joked that he’s spoken to a couple of residents who are quite disappointed that they will not be able to monitor traffic violations on their own street.

Cllr Peray Ahmet said: “The scheme will give residents the chance to make their roads safer and I’d urge anyone interested to get in touch.”

- Contact Gary.Frost@met.pnn.police.uk to volunteer