SQUADS of civilians are set to be enlisted by police to combat speeding drivers.


The ground-breaking initiative will involve local volunteers reporting speeders to officers, and could be rolled out if it is successful.

Trouble spots would be selected and locals would work in teams to note down and pass on the details of drivers who trigger speed indicator signs.

The road safety crackdown - the first of its kind in Scotland - will be launched next month on the Black Isle near Inverness to assess whether it can be used in other Highland blackspots.

It will run for 12 weeks in the village of Culbokie after the proposal was backed at a meeting of Ferintosh Community Council.

Eight volunteers - who will work in groups of three and wear high visibility jackets - will monitor cars that trigger the 30mph sign at the south west end of the village.

They will do eight hours every fortnight, initially at peak times. They will note down the registration number, speed, date and time of the vehicle clocked over the limit.

Chief Superintendent Julian Innes, Police Scotland's North area commander who attended the meeting, said the initiative could be set up in other communities if it was successful.

He said: "I'm really, really encouraged that the local community wants to do something about this.

"There are already speeding restrictions on your approach to the village, such as good signs and markers so the engineering side of things appears to be OK, but some drivers still drive at excess speed at different times of the day.

"I think by working with the local community and volunteers we will change driver behaviour.

"Once the pilot is complete we will sit down and discuss whether the roads are better and if in the end we have evidence that it has changed driver behaviour, then this model could be rolled out across the Highlands and Islands in communities who are concerned about speeding."

Ch Supt Innes said initially a letter would go out to speeders, drafted by himself and the community council chairman.

In June, Highland Council set up monitoring strips for 24 hours, five days a week.

The data collected showed that more than 50 per cent of vehicles were moving faster than the 30mph in the village and more than 10 per cent moved faster than 40mph.

One resident claimed at the meeting that some drive at 70-80mph through the village at night.

However, some local residents voiced concerns about the new scheme.

One said: "I feel a bit uncomfortable. I feel it's a police matter and when vigilantes start getting involved I don't think it's a good idea for the village and personal relationships especially."

Bruce Morrison, chairman of the community council, who will also be one of the volunteers, said: "The terms of reference within which the volunteers are operating are very precise and very narrow and if ever a proposal comes up for community surveillance it will have to come through the community council and have community support."

Ch Supt Innes added: "Policing of the roads is a police matter but we are not going to be here all the time.

"Vigilantes to me strikes up image of gangs roaming the streets but we are talking about three people standing under the sign with clipboards.

"I don't think that's vigilantism, I think that's community empowerment."