With Road Safety Week now upon us, West Mercia Police is encouraging all road users to take simple steps to keep themselves and others safe on the roads. 

The theme for this year’s national week of action, organised by road safety charity Brake, is ‘Step up for Safer Streets’. With that in mind, West Mercia Police is highlighting a number of important schemes which allow road users to proactively improve the safety of their roads.

So far this year* 37 people have been killed and 395 have been seriously injured in collisions on roads across West Mercia. Reducing the number of people killed and injured on the roads continues to be a priority for the force, but there are numerous ways that the public can help to bring these figures down.

Operation Snap: Road users now have the opportunity to use their own digital footage from dashcams and other devices to help keep the roads safer, as part of the Operation Snap initiative, which has been adopted by West Mercia.

The National Dashcam Safety Portal developed by Nextbase, gives members of the public the power to report incidents of dangerous or unlawful driving. The platform allows members of the public to submit digital footage showing potential traffic offences direct to West Mercia Police. This can range from driving dangerously or carelessly to overtaking on solid white lines, using a mobile phone while driving, ignoring traffic lights or dangerous driving around other road users, such as horse riders and cyclists. Offences will then be reviewed by a police officer and followed up as appropriate.

Approximately 200-250 offences are processed through Operation Snap within West Mercia each month. For more information, or to submit digital footage, visit http://www.westmercia.police.uk/operationsnap

Community Speed Watch: Speeding continues to contribute to collisions, both locally and nationally. The force’s Community Speed Watch scheme is coordinated by the police but managed and run by volunteers in the community. The scheme enables local people to take an active role in road safety and make their community safer.

Community Speed Watch continues to grow across West Mercia; There are currently 32 active schemes, with a further 9 in the pipeline due to start in the coming months. At specified safe locations, volunteers monitor the speed of passing vehicles with a hand-held speed detection device. Offending vehicles’ details are submitted to safer neighbourhood teams, who will arrange for warning letters to be sent to the registered keepers with advice on safer driving.

Local residents who have speeding concerns should contact their local safer neighbourhood team or parish council, who will approach West Mercia Police Road Safety on behalf of the community if there is significant concern. A number of criteria must be met before a scheme will be established.

Roads Focus: The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia has also lent his support to the national campaign. ‘Roads Focus’ is an ongoing campaign which gives members of the public the opportunity to share their views on the roads. For the next two weeks (18th – 29th November) Roads Focus events are taking place across Worcestershire with a number of drop-in sessions, driver awareness sessions and practical driver training courses taking place. For more information on dates and locations of events, visit https://www.westmercia-pcc.gov.uk/working-together/roads-focus-road-safety-campaign/

Be Safe Be Seen: At this time of year with the darker mornings and evenings upon us, road users are reminded of the need to be visible to others. Cyclists and pedestrians are being encouraged to think about their presence on the roads and wear high visibility clothing and reflective material, to ensure they can be seen. Pedestrians are reminded to always use pedestrian crossings where possible and cyclists should ensure their bike is in good working order and carries front and rear lights.

‘Be Safe Be Seen’ cycle safety initiatives are running throughout the autumn and winter months, including one in Hereford during Road Safety Week. Cyclists and pedestrians that are not as visible as they could be in the dark mornings and nights or cyclists with no lights will be stopped and given road safety advice, free high vis gear and lights.

Superintendent Mel Crowther for West Mercia Police said: “We are pleased to support Road Safety Week in West Mercia. This national campaign highlights the importance of being a safe road user. Every death and serious injury on our roads is a tragedy and many are preventable. As well as following the rules of the road, there are many other schemes and initiatives in place – such as Operation Snap – which give communities the chance to get involved in improving the safety of the roads. ‘Step up for safe streets’ this Road Safety Week and do your bit to keep our communities safe.”

Issued: AH, Road Safety Team

National Road Safety Week runs from 18th – 24th November 2019.

*Figures correct at 31st October 2019.