Update for West Swindon - 23rd November 2020
West Swindon Policing Lead, Insp Carly Nesbitt has provided the following update:
Last week was Road Safety Week with the focus on speeding. We asked our Roads Policing Unit to target the West Swindon area and Neighbourhood Officers have been out conducting speed checks. We will also be using some of the dedicated proactive shifts in December to carry out further targeted work.
The next West Swindon Community Safety Group meeting is due to take place this week. The membership of this group includes ward and parish councillors as well as police, Swindon Borough Council and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue. The group will set the local priorities for the area and I anticipate that this subject will be raised.
A trigger plan has been put together, although has not been fully activated due to lockdown. In the meantime we have been looking to see if we can acquire ANPR in the area and units have been continuing to patrol and engage with those present. Whilst there have on occasions been a congregation of cars, it would seem that their objective is to meet up and it is a small minority who are causing the issues. We will also discuss with Swindon Borough Council the feasibility of traffic calming in the area.
The issue very much remains on our agenda. However with a number of vacancies being held and some significant operational incidents occurring, coupled with our focus also being required on COVID, we have had to prioritise.
Update - 5th November 2020
I have received the following response from Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport.
Thank you for your email of 5 October on behalf of your constituents, about the impact of excessive vehicle noise.
The Department for Transport takes the impacts of road noise on health, wellbeing and the natural environment seriously. Strict noise regulations for cars and motorbikes are harmonised at an international level and require vehicles to demonstrate compliance before being placed on the market. Replacement silencers that are to be used on the road must also meet strict noise limits that are aligned with those of the original vehicle.
With regards to enforcement, the police have ongoing powers to act if they suspect an exhaust has been altered to increase noise under Regulation 54 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, or under Regulation 97 if the vehicle is making excessive noise which could be avoided through reasonable driver care. In such cases, drivers may receive a fixed penalty notice and/or have their vehicle taken off the road until the exhaust is made compliant. I would encourage your constituents to bring such cases to the attention of the police to ensure they are given an appropriate priority.
In order to support police efforts, the Department has commissioned research to assess whether an acoustic camera could be used to detect illegal and excessively noisy vehicles. The prototype acoustic camera included a combination of microphone and camera, in conjunction with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), to enable excessively noisy vehicles to be detected from the roadside as they pass by. The Department is currently considering the outcome of the research and whether the technology could lead to more targeted and efficient enforcement.
For the acoustic camera to become a worthwhile technological solution for enforcement, it will need to demonstrate, beyond the balance of probabilities, that an offence has occurred. As a result, further development and testing will be required before it could be recommended for wider scale roll out.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP
SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TRANSPORT
Update - 21st October 2020
Wiltshire Police agree to take action with targetted Campaign
I recently wrote to Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Kier Pritchard to highlight the issue of anti-social vehicle behaviour and speeding in the town after several residents contacted me.
Following this, I am pleased that Wiltshire Police have confirmed that they are in the process of organising a targeted campaign to tackle anti-social vehicle behaviour and speeding across Swindon. It is hoped that this targeted campaign will take place by the end of the year.
Update - 10th October 2020
Police request for further information and details
Earlier this week, I contacted Wiltshire Police to request action after several residents contacted me about anti-social vehicle behaviour/noise and speeding. Wiltshire Police have requested as much information from local residents as possible to target this issue. If there is a road in your area of South Swindon where this is taking place regularly, please get in touch with me so that I can pass this information on to the police. Any timings and details are very helpful. Please email this information, along with your name and address to me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
Update - 7th October 2020
I have been contacted by many local residents raising concerns about anti-social vehicle behaviour and noise. This issue is affecting many people here in Swindon and needs to be targeted. I have today written to the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police to request a Police Campaign of Action to target offenders. I have also raised this issue with the Department of Transport.
Update - 2nd July 2020
The regular Multi-Agency Community Safety Group Meetings have been put on hold due to the COVID Pandemic. It is hoped that a virtual CSG meeting will be held within the next 3 - 4 weeks. In the meantime, Community Policing Team Neighbourhood Inspector Carly Nesbitt has provided the following policing update:
“This has been less of an issue over lockdown although we have had some reports of speeding. Proactive work has been undertaken with our response and Headquarters colleagues and several enforcement sessions have taken place.
“Notable results include one driver stopped for doing 107 mph in a 50mph on Great Western Way. We anticipate that as lockdown reduces and the weather gets better issues may start again.
“A plan is ready and initiatives are in the pipeline with Dorset and Wilts Fire and Rescue to provide education and enforcement responses. Focused patrol will continue.
Minutes from the meeting held in November 2019
Robert met with local residents in West Swindon, as well as Businesses on the Shaw Ridge Complex and the West Swindon Police Lead.
The meeting had no structure and was essentially a free-for-all where residents expressed their concerns to Andy Bridge.
He said that the current situation could be described as an "unacceptable equilibrium".
They are keen to avoid ending up with a carpark full of barriers like that at Greenbridge, but something has to be done.
The police have previously brought in a mobile CCTV van, but that only resulted in the problem moving from the South carpark to the one in the North, which resulted in more businesses being disrupted.
There is a significant problem with tire marks.
Local businesses are asking residents to pass on any information they have onto the police - it is imperative that everything gets logged.
This is not just a Saturday night problem; it happens most nights until 3am and affects every main road in the surrounding area. Residents cannot leave their windows open in the summer because of the noise. "The last two years have been hell".
Residents say they are reporting to the police on a regular basis and that local Facebook groups are full of complaints. They complain that there is not a sufficient police presence in the local area.
It is clear that noise is the main issue.
They ask for more cameras to be installed to cover the South car park.
Inspector Andy Bridge - Police
He made it clear that the police have been working on this issue for some time. He said there is evidence of this action on their social media channels.
The police have been working with businesses to see what more they can do to deter anti-social behaviour.
They will continue to look into ways they can tackle the locations where they gather (target-hidden = cameras, ANPR, barriers etc).
The police have been doing speed checks and have been talking to insurance companies about modified cars.
Whitehill Way and Mead Way have been sector priorities for the police. However, their action is limited due to resources.
Andy urged people to give them any dashboard clips they have. He made it clear though, if residents are unwilling to have that evidence be heard in court under their name, there is nothing that can be done in relation to prosecution, but it can nonetheless be used as intelligence.
Need people to give dashboard clips, but without agreeing to have that evidence be heard in court under their name, there is nothing that can be done. But it will be used as intelligence.
Further Actions Following The Meeting
Following the meeting in November, Inspector Andy Bridge has retired. Inspector Carly Nesbitt is the new Neighbourhood Inspector for West Swindon and her update is below. Robert has requested a meeting with Inspector Nesbitt to further discuss this issue.
“I am pleased to say that things appear to have died down since your meeting in November. I met with the Parish Clerk yesterday who did not raise it as an issue, and I have checked our logs for the past 28 days and there is only one report of ASB involving a vehicle in that location.
“I am aware however that as the weather gets better, we may expect more incidents, so I will liaise with the team and our Roads Policing Unit so we can formulate a proactive plan. Additionally, the Parish Clerk and I are in the process of setting up a Community Safety Group for the Parish which will give us a platform for a multi-agency response to community issues, which may include this.”
Further comments from Robert
According to police records, there has only been one report of ASB involving a vehicle in the area within the past 28 days. I would encourage all residents and local businesses to continue to report all instances and contact me so that I am aware and can keep an accurate record prior to my meeting with Inspector Carly Nesbitt.
I will continue to work with local residents to tackle this issue.