Skye residents could soon be snaring speedsters – and possibly their own neighbours – in their commmunity.
The islands are aiming to the first area to fully roll out Police Scotland’s new Community Speed Watch protocol.
The force last month introduced new guidance for communities wanting to deter drivers from speeding through their towns and villages.
Temporary Inspector Bruce Crawford told local councillors in Portree that the scheme, modelled on a successful initiative in England and piloted briefly in Fife and Kinross, had shown positive effects in reducing speeding in local blackspots, in some cases as much as 90%.
He said: “No one wants to be seen speeding by their neighbours.”
The officers said a local group would first need to be formed, most likely drawn from community councils.
Individuals go through police vetting and their group is only allowed to work in 20, 30 or 40 mph zones.
Speed limits would be set at 25, 36 and 47 mph to allow for margins of error.
The inspector said the group must apply for funding for a speed detection gun – around £1,300 for a used police one – signage, public liability insurance and hi-vis jackets, costing about £2000 in total.
He added: “It would make sense for two or three areas to get together to share the costs and the equipment.”
The group would give the police advance notice of their monitoring intentions.
A minimum of three members would then put up their signage, and spend around an hour monitoring traffic.
Any speeder’s time, location and registration number would be clocked and referred to the police, who would generate a letter of explanation and warning.
A second and third letter would follow if the person continued to be caught speeding. The third letter would label them ‘a persistent offender.’
In other locations in England officers have been sent to known troube spots.
However, prosecutions won’t arise from the speed watch, Insp Crawford said, unless there is poor, careless or dangerous driving involved.
Councillor Ronald MacDonald said: “I think this will go down well with the community. The police can’t be there to enforce all the time.
“Speeding issues are the one thing we get asked about at every community council meeting.
“The main black spots are the long straight roads on the approaches to Portree and Broadford.
“I live just off the road and see this a lot, particularly with hire cars. They’re definitely doing more than 30mph.
“I’m glad the police are taking this so seriously.”