GROUPS of volunteers could be given their own speed guns after a massive increase in complaints about reckless motorists driving too fast on residential roads.

Bolton Council is pressing on with efforts to provide community ‘speedwatch’ groups with equipment to address the ‘needless loss of life and devastating damage to families and communities’.

A meeting of the full council backed a motion put forward by Cllr Madeline Murray on the issue, with more talks now set to take place between the council and the police to progress a scheme.

Members heard of a reluctance from the police to proceed with the initiative but that backing to roll out more schemes had been given by Deputy Merto Mayor, Bev Hughes, and that it was hoped the appointment of a new chief constable would provide a greater focus on community policing.

Community speedwatch teams are made up of local residents who team up with the police to record and pass on details of vehicles breaking the speed limit using the hi-tech devices, provide the proof.

Motorists caught exceeding the speed limit are sent a letter explaining the risks they putting people at.

Repeat offenders would receive a visit from the police and enforcement and criminal prosecution could follow based on the collated evidence.

Cllr Murray, in her motion, said: “This council has serious concerns about the issue of speeding cars and reckless driving, which is continually leading to needless loss of life resulting in devastating damage to families and communities.

“Council accepts that cuts to police budgets has led to a reduction in the ability for the police to effectively enforce speed restrictions.

“One method by which the issue of speeding cars can be tackled is to tap into the willingness of community groups to organise community speedwatch and notes the successful, but informal, pilot that has been operating in Ainsworth Lane, Tonge with the Haulgh.

“While accepting that speedwatch groups are not a panacea to the problem, council is nevertheless disappointed that in reply to a question from a member, the GM neighbourhood roads policing manager did not offer any reassurance of a full roll out of these initiatives.

“Council believes that the issues raised by police can be solved in partnership with Bolton Council.

“We ask that talks be opened between officers of the council and the police and to resolve any obstructions that are preventing the roll out of speedwatch.”

Cabinet member Cllr Nadim Muslim told members that the police had told him they were ‘not ready’ to roll out the scheme but that they had a draft policy in place.

He added that cash to buy the speed detectors for community groups had been set aside.

Cllr Nick Peel said the pilot scheme last year on Ainsworth Lane involved around 10 volunteers and did not result in any fines but acted as a deterrent.

He said: “There are obstacles at various levels, including the police, to get this official.

“We cannot miss the opportunity to tap into the very strong willingness of members of the public to assist in any way.”