Speeding and dangerous driving has been an issue that has been raised with us a lot recently. Both myself and Cllr Ashley Evans have passed on these concerns to the Police on numerous occasions. At the same time as we were raising it as an issue in Warley Ward, Councillors in Skircoat Ward were doing the same thing. This resulted in the Police launching Operation Hawmill last year.
We wanted to ensure there was a continuation of having a traffic cop back on the streets in Calderdale. Therefore we have secured £100,000 in this years Council budget as an amendment that was made to the ruling Labour group’s budget. Despite currently only having five Liberal Democrat Councillors on the Council this shows how we often punch above our weight to deliver things that residents tell us are a concern.
This money will go towards providing a continuation of traffic policing across Calderdale. Getting dangerous drivers off the streets of Calderdale is a priority for us as a party, and this funding shows how we are listening to people’s concerns and taking action to address them.
In recent weeks both Cllr Ashley Evans and I have received a large increase in complaints about speeding traffic. This isn’t just a case of people driving a few miles of the speed limit, but some seriously dangerous and reckless driving with people racing around Halifax in some very fast cars. It’s clear that a state of lawlessness has existed on our roads with a minimum amount of Police enforcement. We have raised this concerns both with the local Police, and the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson. You can read the letter I sent to Mr Burns-Williamson on the subject here (PCC Letter). Other Councillors have also been raising this issue, and it was raised at our last full Council meeting.
The good news is that Colin Skeath the Halifax Neighbourhood Inspector has emailed Councillors to inform us that the Police have put operation Hawmill in action. I’ve posted up a section of Colin’s email so it can be explained in his own words:
As you know poor driving, speeding and anti-social use of the roads is one of our biggest concerns in the community. I am sure that you, like me, will have many complaints around this issue and recognise the dangers of poor driving and the need for us to act.
In response I have implemented Operation Hawmill which involves the deployment of a dedicated Road Traffic Officer in a high powered car (SRANS) in company with an NPT officer. This deployment is on overtime and is over and above normal policing.
Areas that will be targeted have been selected in relation to the area where we receive most complaints. They include:-Warley, Park, Town Centre / Boothtown, Skircoat
The operation has been running for two days and so far we have issued 16 endorsable fixed penalty tickets and seized two expensive cars.
Normal deployment of the Pro Lazer and Sid will continue along with various partnership road safety activities.
This operation is good news. However we are told the long term funding for such an operation is not in place. Cllr Evans and I will be campaigning for a continuation of a dedicated traffic officer for Calderdale, one that can also then be deployed in other areas across the Borough that have experienced problems. Give then cost to taxpayers when there is a serious accident (let alone the human tragedy involved) we think spending money on policing like this is a wise use of public funds.
Speeding has been a persistent problems across parts of Warley ward such as Moor End Rd, Roils Head, Highroad Well Lane, Sandbeds, or down in to Fountainhead village. Up until now we have had to rely on the traffic officers at the Police to enforce speeding across the ward. The good news is that local police officer PC Barron has now been trained and got access to a mobile speed gun.
The Police have said that they are happy to come and use this at any problem sites across the ward, so if you would like them deployed somewhere please let me know and I will ask them and see if they can set-up there to catch speeding cars. People should also watch out in the 20mph zones to ensure they are sticking to the new speed limits, as you could easily get caught if they are using this new mobile radar gun.
I’ve been dealing with more complaints of speeding along Roils Head Road & Paddock Lane. It’s frustrating that there are still speeding problems on Paddock Lane as this is now already part of a 20mph zone. It’s really clear though there are a minority of drivers who simply ignore the speed limit, and know they are very unlikely to get caught by the Police which seem unable to tackle the problem. Perhaps it would make sense to change the law so local Council enforcement officers could enforce traffic speeding. After all it can’t be too complicated pointing a radar gun at a car and taking a picture as evidence can it?
Anyway I have requested that the Council’s Speed Indicator Device comes back to collect more evidence that will be passed onto the Police to try and encourage them to enforce the limits. The Speed Indicator Device (SID) should be back on Paddock Lane before Christmas, and then back on Roils Head Road in the new year. In the meantime below you can download the latest data collected on speeding on these streets.
If speeding is also an issue on your street please do get in contact with me and let me know. There is a limited amount I can do about it, but I do keep badgering the Police, and get the indicator device out which acts as a visual reminder to people to slow down.
SID results for Paddock Lane
SID results for Roils Head Rd