DORCHESTER Town Council will be asked to set aside a £1,000 budget to help volunteers set up community speed watch schemes in the county town.

The move comes after members of the town council’s planning and environment committee heard from the experiences of those running schemes elsewhere.

Community speed watch schemes see volunteers going out and monitoring the speeds of vehicles passing through their local community.

They are armed with a speed gun and if they detect anyone going over the limit, they pass the information on to Dorset Police volunteers, who then write to the motorist warning them that they have been clocked breaking the limit through that area.

If anyone is repeatedly detected by the speed watch volunteers they will then receive a visit from the police.

Town councillors heard from Sally Little, who runs the community speed watch scheme in Osmington, district councillor Teresa Seall and PCSOs Ken Lightfoot and Mark Wodarek-Black, who have helped communities set up schemes.

Mrs Little told the committee that the Osmington started in May last year with six volunteers and they now had a team of 19 monitoring motorists through the village.

She said in that time they had caught over 200 drivers going through the village at above 36mph, but encouragingly they had not had any repeat offenders – suggesting drivers were learning their lesson.

Mrs Little said: “It’s really about educating drivers.”

PCSO Lightfoot informed the council that a kit for speed watch volunteers comprising of a speed camera, high visibility jackets, signs, a clipboard and a counter was available at around £300.

Councillors agreed that they would be keen to support volunteers set up speed watch schemes and fund equipment, however stressed that council staff did not have the resources to oversee it.

Coun Trevor Jones added that earmarking the funds also did not mean they had to be spent and if no volunteers came forward the money could be used elsewhere.

He said: “We shan’t buy anything until we have a team of volunteers willing to do it.”

Members also agreed that putting aside £1,000 to support community speed watch schemes also marked better value than another proposal to spend £3,000 on a speed indicator device (SID) for the town, which would also carry with it ongoing costs.