Scottish Police Want to Arm Residential Vigilantes With Their Own Speed Guns

CREWE, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 01: Volunteers from the Community Speed Watch track and record the speed of drivers through the village of Church Minshull on April 1, 2008, in Crewe, England. The volunteers operate under the direction of the local police authority and is designed to help the police by making drivers aware of their speed. Community Speed watch does not enforce the law, but those identified as exceeding the limit receive an advisory letter from the Police.
Photo: Christopher Furlong (Getty Images)

Here’s a scenario: You live in a nice, quiet, residential neighborhood. You let your kids play outside. It’s idyllic. Except for the hoodlums that come speeding through from time to time. There’s only so much the police can do, right? Maybe it’s time to take things into your own hands.

Police in Edinburgh, Scotland, want to roll out a Community Speedwatch program, where locals can buy speed guns and other equipment and receive training from the police about where and how to safely use it, reports the Edinburgh News.


After that, the groups “are then able to carry out their own checks and report up to police any vehicles driving through over the speed limit. We will write to the registered keepers advising them of their speed and reminding them to obey the speed limits in built up areas,” said Chief Inspector Alan Carson.

There was some opposition. The Labor Councilor believes that “The Scottish Government needs to provide our hard working cops with the resources needed to keep us all safe.” Others think that it’s “ludicrous” that people can enforce speed without the cops around.

Yet, there are people on board with the idea. A green transport spokesperson, Chas Booth, said,

“I warmly welcome moves by the police and council to train volunteers with speed guns. In common with most councillors, there are some speeding blackspots in my ward which despite action, are still causing real concerns. While I recognise that volunteers cannot, and should not, replace fully trained and equipped police officers, they could prove a useful addition to the range of measures to combat dangerous driving. If this initiative prevents one child from being hospitalised – or worse – by a reckless driver, then it will be worth it.”


It’s true that people shouldn’t be speeding in general, but especially through residential neighborhoods. It’s dangerous. There are children at play. Won’t anyone think of the children?

Yet, is the best route truly to arm civilians with speed guns? Making speed vigilantes out of the locals?


What do you think?

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About the author

Kristen Lee

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.