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How does the Big Society work for you?

12:30 UK time, Monday, 15 November 2010

Volunteers in Wiltshire are assisting the police by providing them with details of speeding motorists. Is this the Big Society in action?

Speed cameras have been scrapped as a cost-cutting exercise in Wiltshire and volunteers have since been trained to record speeds in known problem areas.

As a result, several repeat offenders have been convicted of speeding.

Wiltshire councillor John Thomson has denied that this is policing on the cheap, adding that "the community has to take up the slack for some of the things that we'd like to do but can't afford to do anymore".

David Cameron has been encouraging volunteering in the government's vision of the Big Society.

Is this a good way to tackle speeding? Are you a volunteer? Do you feel part of the Big Society? Should this model be extended? Is it policing on the cheap? Do you know of similar schemes in your area?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    This can so easily spiral into a series of witch-hunts, ever seen how some neighbourhood watch groups operate? Some don't tend to like outsiders or new additions to the community in my experience.

    The last thing we need as another Royston Vasey!

  • Comment number 2.

    I don't think busy bodies with pretend speed cameras is quite what DC had in mind, thank God.

  • Comment number 3.

    Does our country really think it proper to provide 'volunteers' with the power and framework to persecute others in their communities? I am sure a similar approach to 'community focused' civil policing activities was attempted in another nation some years ago - And the consequences of that particular experiment in 'volunteer' organised persecution ended in misery for millions!

    Oh dear.

  • Comment number 4.

    How does the Big Society work for me? I'm glad I don't live in Wiltshire, as it would feel as though I was working for Big Society instead. Still, the idea of being a volunteer for certain things is quite attractive. I have some ideas about that, but doubt if they would get past the moderators, and for sure I have no wish for Big Society to come knocking on the door just before dawn.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well what happens if the persons holding the speed camera see somebody they bare a grudge against ?

  • Comment number 7.

    "How does the Big Society work for you"? is the misleading HYS question.

    This HYS question is based on speed cameras being scrapped as they cost local authorities too much money. Therefore volunteers are forced to protect their communities from speeding motorists.

    Therefore, if speed cameras were funded by local authorities, and those cameras are 'shut down' - will local authorities reduce Council Tax by equal measure? It is also ludicrous for speed cameras to be covered with signs saying 'out of action' and then replaced with random volunteers. Madness.

  • Comment number 8.

    Balsall Heath in Birmingham is a prime example of the big society, the community there have worked wonders.
    The present Chief Constable of the West Midlands, Paul Scott-Lee worked in Balsall Heath 15 years ago as a young Inspector. Upon his return as Chief Constable he visited his old turf. He said he could not overstate how dramatic and tangible the transformation had been. He said that 3 words summed up the impression he was left with.
    Confidence- everyone he met was confident
    Aspiration- everyone he met had high hopes and expectations
    Togetherness- everyone talked of ‘we’ and ‘us’ and not of ‘me’ and ‘mine’.
    If they can do it, why can't others?

  • Comment number 9.

    "Volunteers in Wiltshire are assisting the police by providing them with details of speeding motorists. Is this the Big Society in action?"
    No - this is a busy-body's charter; carte blanche for the meddlesome to meddle; free-rein to the disgruntled to disgruntle.
    Does anyone wish to see a nation of informers, a society of copper's narks?
    How noble!

  • Comment number 10.

    "As a result, several repeat offenders have been convicted of speeding"
    Incorrect, several motorists have ADMITTED speeding and as a result received a penalty.
    A member of the public has "no authority" from the secretary of state to operate a statuary instrument for fining motorists, therefore they can not use the instrument for evidential purposes in a criminal trial.
    More fool them that admitted it !
    Shame on the looking to inform on their fellow citizens.
    SHAME ON YOU !

  • Comment number 11.

    How does the Big Society work for you?

    C'mon, even an old cynic like me realises that an idea like the 'Big Society' is going to need more than a few months before we've got ant chance of noticing any improvements.

    Although if the typical HYS contributor is anything to go by, any scheme that relies onthe concept of people helping others, rather than themselves is likely to be widely resented.

  • Comment number 12.

    My own interpretation, and it is only that, since it hasn't been very clearly explained, is that state of affairs were people used to contribute to the social life of the community through voluntary organisations. The state of affairs that used to prevail in the UK 20 years ago and earlier.

    I assume that what the government want to get away from is the situation where people look to the state for every minor detail of their lives. If this is what the government means they need to do 2 things.

    1. Tell people that is what the 'big society' is.
    2. Remove the government and legal impediments which have stopped people taken responsibility. We all know what they are: the risk of being sued for negligence, government funded schemes, health and safety, risk assessments, compulsory government registers for this that and the other.

  • Comment number 13.

    11. At 12:59pm on 15 Nov 2010, Jack Napier wrote:

    How does the Big Society work for you?

    C'mon, even an old cynic like me realises that an idea like the 'Big Society' is going to need more than a few months before we've got ant chance of noticing any improvements.

    Although if the typical HYS contributor is anything to go by, any scheme that relies onthe concept of people helping others, rather than themselves is likely to be widely resented.

    _____________________________________________________

    I don't see how getting busybodies to rat each other out constitutes as "helping others", surely there are more direct ways of helping out you neighbour?

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    The Big Society appears to consist of mediocre, self-serving individuals demanding that everyone else suffer austerity while they do not, failing to meet their obligations to society whilst expecting everyone else to take on those responsibilities...

    ... and we've had civilians wielding hand-held radar guns round here in Cheshire for several years. It's taken me that long to break the instictive reactions of an Army training not to take evasive manoeuvres!

  • Comment number 16.

    If I see a 'voluteer' pointing a speed-camera at me, I shall stop my car and stick it where the sun doesnt shine, and claim that I thought it was a weapon and that I was acting in self-defence, and I suggest other people do the same.

    This country is insane.

  • Comment number 17.

    I do not support this government. I do not endorse its policies. I will not co-operate with some half-baked scheme designed to take up the slack created by laying off thousands of public sector workers. I strongly advise others not to do so either.

  • Comment number 18.

    This is not the answer. I have been a Traffic Cop for over 17 years both out on patrol and in a supervisory role. Whilst volounteers armed with laser guns may be in the current safer neighbourthood policing methodology, it doesnt actually resolve the speeding issues. Members of the public can not stop and prosecute offenders. Any data they collect may be useful to the police in building a profile of the speeding problem on a particular route, but this can also be achieved far more effectively with traffic data loggers. Once a speed profile for a road has been produced, it is then possible for the traffic police to target key times to catch offenders. A far more impactive way of involving the local community is for drivers to be stopped by the police, and as well as being prosecuted, they are also handed a road safety leaflet by local school children whose lives are effected by the high speed driving on roads in thier neighbourhood. This also has the added bonus of potentially educating the children, who are all future motorists, into speed related issues. However education doesnt work for all, and the most realistic long term solution to high speed driving is through good road engineering makining it impossible for motorists to speed through urban areas. If local councils really are sincere about casualty reduction then they really need to set aside more money for road improvement schemes, so that the roads themselves by design, dictate the speed at which they can be driven.

  • Comment number 19.

    As long as they wear a high visibility vest and are stuck 10' in the air up a pole then I suppose it's ok.

    Otherwise I can see a lot of cases contested on the method of gathering evidence. Lots of money for lawyers and clogging of the courts.

  • Comment number 20.

    The Big Society is nothing new. Its about being neighbourly and having community spirit.

    Sadly being neighbourly and having community spirit seems to be on the wane, so if this helps rekindle that, it's a good thing, isn't it?





  • Comment number 21.

    It wasn't so long ago that one mad tory was telling us there is no such thing as society. Now we have another mad tory telling us we have to work for the 'Big Society' for free.

    The Big Society is a con to allow politicians to cut services and save money and then say 'if you value it you can do it yourself for free!'. Whats written above isnt so very far away from giving busybodies a charter to allow them to take on any bugbear they may have and fine people for it.

    Welcome to the future when any daily mail reader with a camera can pass their dossier of information over to the Police and have you prosecuted for anything they dont particularly like. Utter madness...

  • Comment number 22.

    It will be interesting to see the first of these volunteer reported instances of speeding tested in court. This is one of those issues that seems workable, kind of, on the surface, but is clearly open to abuse by people who have a grudge against someone and make a vindicative report of speeding. How will the evidence of speeding be tested? Will it be the word of the speed checker against the driver? Will a 3rd party have to be a witness? Sorry, but exactly how is this going to work!?

  • Comment number 23.

    Can someone explain to me the difference between this and vigilantiism?

    And what when some disgruntled motorist takes revenge on the member of the public who they saw pointing the speed camera at them? I say "when" not "if" because it will happen. I don't condone it, but it will happen. Is this not putting the public in the line of fire? Surely we have a police force so that duly appointed constables uphold the law for just that reason?

    I wonder how long it will be before it gets challenged in court. Is the training sufficient? Were the members of the public sufficiently capable of using the equipment fully? Does the law require an officer to use such a device? There will be any number of reasons to challenge it.

    I do support "The Big Society" but this is a poor example of it in action.

  • Comment number 24.

    Am I alone in struggling to understand what the expression Big Society means?
    It might be a really good idea but it might just be a soundbite.

  • Comment number 25.

    Heaven spare us from all these busy body pensioners with nothing better to do than persecute the rest of us. What will happen when these people report the speeding police? I was very nearly killed by a speeding police officer whilst doing my job on a school crossing patrol. He told me he was on call, which was strange because half an hour later I saw him shopping with his wife in the supermarket

  • Comment number 26.

    Of course, if people drove within the law then of course we would not require speed cameras and our roads would be very much safer thus also reducing the cost of emergency services and car insurance.


    Unfortunately, we live in self-centred society whereby people want all the laws to be applied to everyone else but not to themselves as they themselves are safe drivers even though that child is about to step out in front of them or there is a cyclist just around that blind bend.

  • Comment number 27.

    The "Big Society" is nothing new, communities have been working together for many years to try and solve problems or simply make things happen. In Darlington the local Council helped set up 11 community partnerships in the most deprived areas; I became a part of this in 1999 and have spent the last 11 years working as a volunteer for my community. This has seen me elected as a member of the original partnership on Firthmoor where we were given SRB6 funding to try and make a difference. Over this time I have been a member of the Local Strategic Partnership and Town Centre Board, Chair of the Firthmoor Community Centre which was given the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, Chair of both the Firthmoor & Eastbourne Partnerships, Chair of the Darlington European Funding Steering Group and one of the first independant inspectors of the towns CCTV system. I now mostly deal with the Maidendale Nature & Fishing Reserve Trust as secretary.
    What David Cameron has done is simply give a new name to community activities; sadly however keen volunteers are they still need access to funding & support to achieve anything. That funding was dished out very spareingly by Labour, before being dragged back bit by bit leaving many groups without the support to make things happen. The money was enough to start things off but then was withdrawn at the end of a few years bringing the opportunity for long term improvement to an end basically wasting the effort and spending of the first few years. This simply worked against all attempts at keeping interest in community volunteering and partnership working. Community involvement is not a simple, cheap option for any Government to use as a smokescreen for the lack of real,decent waged jobs. It is a real chance to change attitudes among people from all levels of society, but it needs to be properly funded and supported to work.

  • Comment number 28.

    "ELENAKL wrote:
    Balsall Heath in Birmingham is a prime example of the big society, the community there have worked wonders.
    The present Chief Constable of the West Midlands, Paul Scott-Lee worked in Balsall Heath 15 years ago as a young Inspector. Upon his return as Chief Constable he visited his old turf. He said he could not overstate how dramatic and tangible the transformation had been. He said that 3 words summed up the impression he was left with.
    Confidence- everyone he met was confident
    Aspiration- everyone he met had high hopes and expectations
    Togetherness- everyone talked of ‘we’ and ‘us’ and not of ‘me’ and ‘mine’.
    If they can do it, why can't others?"

    A question. How much public money has been spent in Balsall Heath to reach this point? A community doesn't transform without investment.

  • Comment number 29.

    The volunteers are daft if they do this job for NOTHING
    Those that do are the busybodys of that area
    This is typical of Councils OR Government which ever thought it up
    Get somebody to do the job for nothing when it is supposed to be THEIR (COUNCILS) responsiblity which is what one pays the Council Tax FOR
    Are they going to reduce that (I BET THEY DO NOT)

  • Comment number 30.

    You snitch on somebody for speeding down your street.nobody likes it when it's in their street do they ,But the snitchers speed down others peoples streets. Rather "I'm ok jack society" more like. yeah some big society.

  • Comment number 31.

    6. At 12:53pm on 15 Nov 2010, Mad Max and Satan Dog Paddy wrote:
    Well what happens if the persons holding the speed camera see somebody they bare a grudge against ?

    =====================================

    I think for it to stand up in court, you would need a witness, and you would therefore need 2 people to bare a grudge against you! Then of course the person being accused could point this grudge out, and likely as not, the judge would throw it out, and have the grudge holders arrested for contempt of Court.

    But the grudge holders may be friends with an even more senior judge and get this over turned, and do it again.....

    However, lets not get too carried away! this is not 'Tales of the Unexpected' or is it????

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    I can see a lot of "Santa's little helpers" ending up with the camera inserted where it wont be able to see speeding cars.
    Warn the NHS that there could be an influx of injuries.
    Where do the idiots who devise these ideas come from.

  • Comment number 34.

    Can I suggest that we make MPs volunteers, surely we can't afford to pay them?

  • Comment number 35.

    20. At 1:13pm on 15 Nov 2010, Andy_Pandy1968 wrote:

    The Big Society is nothing new. Its about being neighbourly and having community spirit.

    Sadly being neighbourly and having community spirit seems to be on the wane, so if this helps rekindle that, it's a good thing, isn't it?

    ________________________________________

    The trouble is 'Big Society' has been introduced as a replacement for certain functions initially run by our local police force. All in the ConDem spirit to cut public spending and using 'Big Society' to try to justify those cuts.

    The Tory Government want to have less speed cameras and traffic police out there and have tax payers do the jobs for them.

    I'm all for 'community spirit' but this is not directly helping anyone other than the Coalition.
    I'm all up for

  • Comment number 36.

    This government is putting police officers on dole and they expect people of the community to do the polices job. Just like they throw council workers on the dole and expect the jobless to do their jobs for their job seekers allowence. why don't they sack Cameron and have the public running the country.

  • Comment number 37.

    It would be nice to think that the British people would give up the 'government should do something' mentality, and instead start doing things for themselves. A demand for more direct public referendums on important national or local issues, where the result is binding on our politicians, would be a good start.

    Unfortunately, all this 'Big Society' seems to be so far is encouragement for various self-interested pressure groups to have a greater say over all the rest of us. By far the most dangerous of these groups are the religiously motivated ones, since they are ultimately socially divisive, and often a hiding place for backward social views, bigotry and anti-science. Coming to a school near you I believe.

  • Comment number 38.

    Oh dear dear, this will only end in tears. The public should be an enhancement to the police such as neighbourhood watch schemes, not a direct replacement for sevices paid out of taxpayers money. I can see it now, a neighbour thanking you for letting him off, or the guy across the road hammering on your door because he got a letter in the post and you did it just because you don`t like him. I can us needing more police on the streets just to sort this out.

  • Comment number 39.

    Interesting. Didnt the speed guns pick up a brick wall moving at speed as well as a bicycle speeding? Last I heard the technology was a failure and accusing people without facts.

    However I dont see how people picking up the slack can be a bad thing. People should contribute anyway but labour pashed the daft idea of a specific persons job.

  • Comment number 40.

    Eeek! It sounds like the sort of activity that busy bodies like the WI would get themselves involved in whenever they get bored of swapping knitting patterns and cake recipes...

  • Comment number 41.

    No I'm not part of "The Big Society".
    Mainly because in only exists in the tiny world of Daves Imagination.
    Yes it is policing on the cheap and no doubt will lead to trouble with some people taking revenge on the civilian at some juncture.
    If we are going to be doing everything for ourselves, lets just get rid of the Politicians, the House of Lords and all councils.
    Its a strange country, we pay taxes to employ people to do certain jobs for us, then we are encouraged to do it ourselves anyway.
    Sorry I'm working flat out earning a living.
    Give me back all my taxes and I will fend for myself if thats the way its going to be.

  • Comment number 42.

    "21. At 1:13pm on 15 Nov 2010, Woody wrote:
    It wasn't so long ago that one mad tory was telling us there is no such thing as society. Now we have another mad tory telling us we have to work for the 'Big Society' for free.

    --------------

    Try bothering to read her original speech and you might understand the context in which she was using 'society'.

  • Comment number 43.

    Post 6 asks;
    Well what happens if the person holding the speed camera see somebody they bare a grudge against
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    No difference, the camera records the speed of the car, not the grudge.

  • Comment number 44.

    What a pathetic bunch of losers!

    This is "jobsworths" at it's worst.

  • Comment number 45.

    Big Society:

    What happens if you live in an area with no-one, or not enough people, prepared to volunteer?

    Will the vulnerable be abandoned to their fate or will the local authority have to pay someone to fulfill their statutory duties of care?

  • Comment number 46.

    I think the idea of the Big Society is for us all to take control and responsiblity for things. Everyone should be aware of their actions. We all have a big part to play in our sociey.

  • Comment number 47.

    No, I think this is an example of the SMALL society.

    Around Wiltshire you will find examples of where local communities (or vested interests) have been allowed to impose ridiculous speed limits and 'traffic calming' measures with no real safety justification on main roads that happen to pass through them. No wonder that the Councils and Police no longer want to waste money on enforcing these!

    The BIG society would recognise that people want to get from A to B safely and at reasonable speed, without completely unnecessary chicanes etc all over the place, and that it is better to build new houses set well back from the main roads which are the arteries of modern life and the economy. If people choose to build new houses right next to a main road, they should accept the inevitable traffic disturbance that goes with this and not seek to create an obstacle course for users of the highways.

  • Comment number 48.

    This is a joke of an idea from a joke of a party.

    But then this is typical of the tories, trying to do everything on the cheap.

    The quicker we get this shower of a party out of government the better.

  • Comment number 49.

    Instead of moaning about 'vigilantism' and pointing the finger at 'meddlesome busybodies', people could just drive within the law and obey speed limits, then it would have no effect on them at all. Simple.

  • Comment number 50.

    25. At 1:17pm on 15 Nov 2010, Lucy Clake wrote:

    Heaven spare us from all these busy body pensioners with nothing better to do than persecute the rest of us...

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I know exactly how you feel, Lucy. A few months ago my car broke down - I just about managed to turn off the main road onto a side street and park it. I was immediately set on by a bunch of pensioners asking me what I thought I was doing 'parking in their street!' I was about a 20 minute walk from my house, so I walked home to call the AA. Anyway, while I was home I received a call from the Police asking me if I was the owner of etc... It's worth pointing out at this stage that I was not parked on any yellow line, my car tax was fully paid up - I'm insured and my car is MOT'd. So a Policeman turned up where my car was, scratched his head, and off he went! All because of a few people who just cannot keep themselves to themselves.
    I was polite and civil at all times, but I don't think I will be if it happens again.

  • Comment number 51.

    26. At 1:20pm on 15 Nov 2010, RonC wrote:

    Of course, if people drove within the law then of course we would not require speed cameras and our roads would be very much safer thus also reducing the cost of emergency services and car insurance.


    Unfortunately, we live in self-centred society whereby people want all the laws to be applied to everyone else but not to themselves as they themselves are safe drivers even though that child is about to step out in front of them or there is a cyclist just around that blind bend.

    -------------------------

    This isnt just the lone responsability of the driver (although that is a contributer). The poorly laid out road systems, Street furnature, dangerous cyclists/pedestrians and the depressing idea that any road problem was the drivers fault has led to such a poor system.

    When I was a kid I looked before crossing a road, accepted that a car was bigger and likely to hurt and that roads are ment for vehicles to travel fast. Unfortunately drivers now are victims and the joy of driving has been removed by people afraid of darwinian evolution.

  • Comment number 52.

    Quote "23. At 1:14pm on 15 Nov 2010, richardjackson99 wrote:

    I do support "The Big Society" but this is a poor example of it in action. " /end Quote

    Perhaps you could take the time to explain exactly what it is please?

    As no one else has, or more to the point none of the rest of us "get it" AT ALL!

  • Comment number 53.

    Perverts in action, similar to "authorities".
    I bet they love spying on little children

  • Comment number 54.

    I love average speed cameras - I just set the cruise control and then I can look at the scenery...
    But its only speed that matters, surely..? Concentration, skill, observation, alertness, a roadworthy and properly insured vehicle - they don't matter any more, do they..??

  • Comment number 55.

    It is painfully clear that the 'Big Society' is really about 'Cheap Services' - not cheaper, just cheap as in shoddy. We are now invited to consider having speeding evidence furnished to courts on the say-so of busy-body folk operating speed guns from behind twitching net curtains. Next, no doubt, doctors will pass amputations over to the local butcher on his day off, the army will pass responsibilty for UN policing missions to the Scouts, and science research will be conducted by class 3B of Plumpstead Community School.

    Come on Britain, this Big Society stuff is nonsense and you know it!

  • Comment number 56.

    Are the volunteers insured? what happens if they get injured whilst carrying out these duties? Will they sue the police or the council for compensation as I think you will find any personal insurance they may have will not cover them. What happens if they cause an accident does the public then sue them? I wonder how keen the volunteers will be when the weather gets colder and wetter?
    In answer to the questions
    1)Is this a good way to tackle speeding? - no - too haphazard and from what I have heard unlikely to stand up in court.
    2)Are you a volunteer? - no - even if I felt the urge to volunteer i work for a living and don't want to do some elses job for free.
    3)Do you feel part of the Big Society? - no - I am quite happy to help neighbours but as this (and previous) governments have shown more interest in the welfare of the rich and priveged than the rest of the population and of protecting and enhancing that privilege I doubt I ever will.
    4)Should this model be extended? - no
    5)Is it policing on the cheap? - most definitely - it is even cheaper tha CSOs and as not many cases will get to court it will save even more and let the councillors and police chiefs involved continue to personally avoid some of the pain of the cuts. They may have has to go onto plain biscuits with their coffee rather than custard creams.
    6)Do you know of similar schemes in your area? - no

  • Comment number 57.

    Seems like not so much Big Society, more like Big Brother (the George Orwell vision, not the mind-numbing tv programme)....

  • Comment number 58.

    Sounds like 'call me Dave' the aristocratic multimillionaire is creating the ultimate in communist soviet style state of snoopers and informers! We will end up with half the population constantly watching the other half the population and informing on the smallest transgression - Everyone a suspect Everyone guilty!

    I suggest you all get out and make friends with your neighbours - gifts often help - And be careful what you say in public!

  • Comment number 59.

    I had visions of people getting their priorities right.....councils cutting back budgets.... so volunteers helping to provide services for the elderly and for school crossing patrols, not nimby's who don't like busy roads running though their neighbourhood getting their own back

  • Comment number 60.

    6. At 12:53pm on 15 Nov 2010, Mad Max and Satan Dog Paddy wrote:

    Well what happens if the persons holding the speed camera see somebody they bare a grudge against ?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Unless the person that they hold the grudge against is speeding, nothing at all. What's your point?


    The article says that the team of volunteers are being given speed-guns to collect information on habitual speeders - it is the speed gun that decides if you are speeding, not the person holding it.

    It seems to me that all this initiative will do is increase the number of people checking the speeds of motorists without depleting Police resources from other duties, and bear in mind the people volunteering for this are probably residents who are sick of motorists driving like idiots and want to help make a difference in their cummunity.

    From what I can see, the only difference this will make is that speeders are now even more likely to be caught and punished - and the problem with this is....?

    The only people who would complain about this are those who think that having their speed monitored somehow violates their rights. Sorry, but no-one has the right to break the law if they choose to, and if you are caught and prosecuted then who's fault is that? Why not drive safely and sensibly for a change if you're that worried about it?

    If the people involved really did volunteer then I'm all for this, they obviously want to do their bit in stopping the plethora of morons we seem to have on the road these days, and those of us who drive properly and safely have nothing to fear.

    Good on the Wiltshire Police for innovating this idea, bringing the community together for the greater good is how you really unite society.

  • Comment number 61.

    There's me doing voluntary work, but can I get a paid job? No. So what help will I get from the rest of the Big Society, I wonder?

  • Comment number 62.

    #18. At 1:12pm on 15 Nov 2010, Judge Dread wrote:
    This is not the answer. I have been a Traffic Cop for over 17 years both out on patrol and in a supervisory role. Whilst volounteers armed with laser guns may be in the current safer neighbourthood policing methodology, it doesnt actually resolve the speeding issues. Members of the public can not stop and prosecute offenders. Any data they collect may be useful to the police in building a profile of the speeding problem on a particular route, but this can also be achieved far more effectively with traffic data loggers. Once a speed profile for a road has been produced, it is then possible for the traffic police to target key times to catch offenders. A far more impactive way of involving the local community is for drivers to be stopped by the police, and as well as being prosecuted, they are also handed a road safety leaflet by local school children whose lives are effected by the high speed driving on roads in thier neighbourhood. This also has the added bonus of potentially educating the children, who are all future motorists, into speed related issues. However education doesnt work for all, and the most realistic long term solution to high speed driving is through good road engineering makining it impossible for motorists to speed through urban areas. If local councils really are sincere about casualty reduction then they really need to set aside more money for road improvement schemes, so that the roads themselves by design, dictate the speed at which they can be driven.

    --------------------------------

    Well said.

    I personally do not think that this so called traffic calming scheme is anything to do with the "Big Society", it is just an excuse for the local authority to get the job done on the cheap. If the local authority wants to save money it should get rid of the highly paid managers that do not seem to do anything, and leave the front line services alone, and on this particular occasion leave the proper speed cameras on and allow the traffic police to do their job properly.

  • Comment number 63.

    I can see a lot of the great unwashed, sorry, unemployed volunteering for this LOL

  • Comment number 64.

    A more relevant question is not big society, but BIG BROTHER. Also as the police are charged with carrying out this duty, and they are not, does this mean that they will reduce the amount paid to the police in line with reduced workload. If you believe that, “Nursey more sweeties please!”
    Spy on your neighbour, spy on the stranger, any grudge easily solved. We have seen the result to such societies; the paranoia of East Germany under the Stazzi, unwillingness of the Austrian people to question even the most unusual, leading to two abusers holding women/girls for over a decade each, following the “inform or die” regime of the Nazis. After our recent experience of the Nu-Lab soviets, have we forgotten, or airbrushed out the images of Russian Soviet’s Gulags?
    We employ a “police force” to be independent, following the lead off the “law”, not personal advantage. This is to prevent the petty, spiteful and motivated (politically motivated?) using the “law” and so discrediting it and those who have dared to “wrong them”.
    What next?
    Report your neighbour for any of the following great prizes:
    1. any crime, real or imagined, - £50.00,
    2. drinking alcohol in the presence of young person(s) – a microwave,
    3. smoking in the presence of young person(s) – a plasma screen,
    4. failing to remove the little window from envelopes, therefore destroying the councils recycling – fist class jet flight for a weekend away in any EU capital,
    5. failure to love the leader – 5 executions of your personal enemies by the state re-education squads.

  • Comment number 65.

    "The Big Society" is a joke.

    It's just a Tory euphemism for destroying public services.

  • Comment number 66.

    big society = your on your own.

  • Comment number 67.

    What do we pay a police force for then. When speeding drivers have a road rage incident and kills the volunteer the next step presumably is a volunteer do it yourself murder prosecution pack.
    The police always say don't get involved don't have a go, leave it to the right authority, to experts. Too true leave it with them, which mean nothing does get done but whats new?

  • Comment number 68.

    Looks like DC and NC wants to make us a nation of hobby bobbies

  • Comment number 69.

    1 JOE wrote-This can so easily spiral into a series of witch-hunts .
    N o change there then .Most Councils go witch hunting on a daily bases
    The only difference is that councils do it to raise illicit funds!!

    At least private witch hunting will not be used to featherbed council covenants

    Good luck to the big society ,there is little to be lost and more to be gained . remember it might be more effective to chance your "local" world by peaceful actions than by the ballot box.

    Anything that reduces costs is worth the effort


  • Comment number 70.

    In the old East Germany they used to operate by getting everybody to spy and inform on their neighbours. I don't think that was quite what DC was talking about!

  • Comment number 71.

    6. At 12:53pm on 15 Nov 2010, Mad Max and Satan Dog Paddy wrote:
    Well what happens if the persons holding the speed camera see somebody they bare a grudge against ?

    ---------------

    Or indeed, what if they see somebody they love, a family member/ a good friend???

  • Comment number 72.

    Sounds very much similar to IDS's Community Service to me Policing done on the Cheap but with a big name of BIG SOCIETY rather than Community service.

  • Comment number 73.

    26. At 1:20pm on 15 Nov 2010, RonC wrote:
    Of course, if people drove within the law then of course we would not require speed cameras and our roads would be very much safer

    Rubbish; the real problem is hitting someone with a car and hurting or injuring them. There is an inferred link between speeding and hurting people. Its nuts to claim that at 31mph you will hurt someone but at 29mph its all good. The spped limit and that premise are both totally made up.
    Every day, people drive home on 'autopilot' and drift over the limit with no consequences at all. Speed cameras were another way for Gordo Broon to extract more money from people; another Broon stealth tax.
    If speeding is so bad, why is it dealt with in a trivial manner? Fill out a form, send back a £60 cheque and that's it.
    If the real problem is hurting people by bad driving, make that the offence; and deal with it harshly - crush the car, lifetime ban.

  • Comment number 74.

    There is no need for any monitoring or cameras for speeding motorists - confiscate and destroy their vehicles and ban them from driving for life, with a 10 year prison term for any of them that are found in control of a car again

  • Comment number 75.

    #48. At 1:40pm on 15 Nov 2010, thelevellers wrote:
    This is a joke of an idea from a joke of a party.

    But then this is typical of the tories, trying to do everything on the cheap.

    The quicker we get this shower of a party out of government the better.

    ---------------

    Wow, they have only been in power for 6 months. The next 4½ years are going to be very long time to wait for the change that you crave. I hope you did not vote for either the Tories or the LibDems or you will only have yourself to blame.

    So many people wanted change back in May at the General Election - I don't think think they quite got the change they were after.

  • Comment number 76.

    Here's a suggestion for the Big Society reading club: We (a dystopian novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin completed in 1921). Enjoy.

  • Comment number 77.

    Dai the Tie wrote:

    I can see a lot of the great unwashed, sorry, unemployed volunteering for this LOL
    **********************************************************************
    There are an awful lot of people who aren't able to find employment at the moment because business and government deems it more important and more cost effective to favour shareholders' payments and senior management bonuses rather than keeping ordinary citizens at work. I'm sure they would all be only too happy to wash five times a day of they could only find a job to finance the astronoimical charges the power companies levy for their products!

  • Comment number 78.

    42. At 1:32pm on 15 Nov 2010, Khuli wrote:
    "21. At 1:13pm on 15 Nov 2010, Woody wrote:
    It wasn't so long ago that one mad tory was telling us there is no such thing as society. Now we have another mad tory telling us we have to work for the 'Big Society' for free.
    --------------

    Try bothering to read her original speech and you might understand the context in which she was using 'society'./

    Well said, the media took her orignal statement completely out of context, but no one ever bothers to actually read what she really said.

  • Comment number 79.

    "2. At 12:50pm on 15 Nov 2010, RightWingIDBanned wrote:

    I don't think busy bodies with pretend speed cameras is quite what DC had in mind, thank God."
    ===================================================================
    I think you'll find that the Big Society is predicated on exactly the above.
    AS this coalition of the right pursue their(unmandated) agenda of withdrawing public sector provision, local communities will be expected to either step in and provide those lost services or lose them altogether.

  • Comment number 80.

    The "Big Society" sounds just like another version of collectivism to me, so I'm very sceptical at this stage. As for villagers running around the countryside with speed cameras - where will that all end up?

  • Comment number 81.

    69. At 1:54pm on 15 Nov 2010, Lord Rant wrote:


    Good luck to the big society ,there is little to be lost and more to be gained.

    -------------------

    Little will be lost? It depends whether you would consider your public services as something 'little'.

  • Comment number 82.

    How does the Big Society work for you?

    Well, as the days and coming months unfold before me, I have a sneaky suspicion that the Big Society will equate to increasing the misery of living in this very messed up nation - So I conclude the big society will not 'work' for me - but maybe further reduce my sense of well being and happiness - Although, I am quite relieved and at ease in the knowledge that our glorious leaders, in their ultimate wisdom, have decreed it necessary to measure my personal decline into unknown misery....and in their benevolence have decided to record the collated data in order that I might get official confirmation of my personal decline into abject misery in this 'big society' - thanks Dave.

  • Comment number 83.

    Fixed cameras are pretty much fool proof. Hand held cameras, even operated by trained police are far less accurate. Two common reasons for recording speed higher than the car is really going is the sight and the laser being misaligned so although they're looking at your car they're recording the speed of the car next to you. The other common fault is that as the laser measures speed based on the doppler effect the gun has to be pointed at the same spot on the car. If the cop has a shaky hand the speed recorded will be inaccurate....you can add 5mph+ to the recorded speed by aiming at the windscreen then moving the aiming point down the bonnet as you record the speed. As a result many speeding convictions based on mobile cameras are over-turned in court. If a cop can't operate the camera properly a civilian volunteer will be even more likely to get it wrong.

  • Comment number 84.

    "48. At 1:40pm on 15 Nov 2010, thelevellers wrote:
    This is a joke of an idea from a joke of a party.

    But then this is typical of the tories, trying to do everything on the cheap."

    --------------

    You mean as opposed to Labour spending vast amounts on everything and running up a huge structural deficit? You have a strange sense of humour if you don't find that a joke.

  • Comment number 85.

    75. At 2:06pm on 15 Nov 2010, mofro wrote:

    #48. At 1:40pm on 15 Nov 2010, thelevellers wrote:
    This is a joke of an idea from a joke of a party.

    But then this is typical of the tories, trying to do everything on the cheap.

    The quicker we get this shower of a party out of government the better.

    ---------------

    Wow, they have only been in power for 6 months. The next 4½ years are going to be very long time to wait for the change that you crave. I hope you did not vote for either the Tories or the LibDems or you will only have yourself to blame.

    So many people wanted change back in May at the General Election - I don't think think they quite got the change they were after.



    ______________________________________________________________


    To be fair on the Libdems, nobody really expected them to have a seat in the cabinet.

    And they were misled by Clegg, shame on him.

    It seems the only real winners were the Tories, surprise surprise.

  • Comment number 86.

    What might be interesting to look at is the difference between what the police do to raise money, and what the local people do to improve safety.

    My local police (Suffolk) spend their time on the A11 and A14 dual carriageways. The local people would like them to do something about the 70+mph idiots outside the local school. I've been having (yet another) arguement with the 'safety camera partnership' to be told that less than 1% speed past that school - quite a different statistic from the more than 60% the council recorded or the even more shocking 5% over the 70mph top speed of the 'smiley sam' camera the council deployed (a 30mph limit)

  • Comment number 87.

    I would like to see the accident rates on the roads before the cameras were switched off and after.

    If the accident rate stays the same then the speed cameras have nothing to due with the reduction in accidents.

    I suspect that ther wont be a major increase in accidents because speed is only one factor out of many.

    Some the biggest reduction in death are because european legislation has forced car makers to design better cars through the ncap rating. Secondly tyres has improved massively in the last 20 years reducing the stopping distance drop by 30%.
    20 years ago I remeber i owned my first car which has built in in 1970's which had no rear seat belts, no anti lock brakes ,skinny tyres that were bad in the wet and i think removing these cars from the road has had a bigger impact on accident rates than speeding

  • Comment number 88.

    Big society?policing on the cheap is quite right except for one thing.There will be a higher price to be paid by these people who i am sure are doing it for the right reasons.Unfortunately its only a matter of time before some aggrieved motorist pulls up and takes their rage out on them.The police at the side of the road with a radar gun is one thing but a civvie is another.Be very careful.

  • Comment number 89.

    73. At 2:02pm on 15 Nov 2010, Mike from Brum wrote:
    "Every day, people drive home on 'autopilot' and drift over the limit with no consequences at all. Speed cameras were another way for Gordo Broon to extract more money from people; another Broon stealth tax."

    So perhaps you can explain why these cameras (which weren't introduced by Brown... perhaps I can make fun of your accent Brummie?) have been axed as part of a cost cutting measure if they're so profitable?

  • Comment number 90.

    On a slightly off topic but related subject:

    I drive a lot through cities and towns, and stick to the speed limits. because in my view I wouldn't want other people speeding through my area where my kids live, so I do them the courtesy of not speeding in the hope that others will do the same. (I suppose it is a bit naive).

    One thing I have noticed though is a common trend in most residential areas:

    Areas where you find lower cost or rented housing (council estates) and inner city old style housing, speed bumps and chicanes are all over the place.

    Areas more up market with detached and semi-detached more expensive houses the speed bumps and chicanes are non existent. These of course are the places where the influential citizens live, the ones who have the ear of the local Councillors, or the MP. so they wouldn't want them nasty speed bumps to damage there Mercedes Sports now would they?

    Yet it is perfectly fine to plaster them all over inner city areas, and damage the cars of people who live and work in those areas.

  • Comment number 91.

    Surely the question should be "what can you do for the big society", and not "what the big society can do for you". It's about people taking initiative and control and not being bystanders.

  • Comment number 92.

    The Big Society is a load of hype (you could change some of the word hype by the letters t, r & i). I want to know who is ultimately responsible when things go wrong, who is accountable. Because when the big society causes tragedy through irresponsible actions you can guarantee the Condems will wash their hands claiming they are not to blame.

  • Comment number 93.

    Some time ago I worked for a company which introduced a new management/planning system. This had the interesting feature that it only seemed to work if all departments talked and cooperated together - i.e. it forced them to work in a more cooperative way, and it did work!

    I think this Big Society idea is something similar.

    The trouble with the 'State' system is that it is always somebody else (usually remote)'s responsibility to do something, and not surprisingly it is rarely done in the most helpful way. But there are many things we can do for each other much more quickly and effectively ourselves, and more cheaply than paying the taxes to fund a Big Bureaucracy to do them.

    Clearly, this needs some mutual commitment, but I think it is something I would be prepared to sign up to.

  • Comment number 94.

    Sound like they had better keep their cameras well lubricated..

  • Comment number 95.

    "I don't think busy bodies with pretend speed cameras is quite what DC had in mind, thank God."
    ===================================================================
    I think you'll find that the Big Society is predicated on exactly the above.
    AS this coalition of the right pursue their(unmandated) agenda of withdrawing public sector provision, local communities will be expected to either step in and provide those lost services or lose them altogether. "

    Not sure I see speed tax a "lost public service"


  • Comment number 96.

    28. At 1:22pm on 15 Nov 2010, SpacedOne wrote:
    "ELENAKL wrote:
    Balsall Heath in Birmingham is a prime example of the big society, the community there have worked wonders.
    The present Chief Constable of the West Midlands, Paul Scott-Lee worked in Balsall Heath 15 years ago as a young Inspector. Upon his return as Chief Constable he visited his old turf. He said he could not overstate how dramatic and tangible the transformation had been. He said that 3 words summed up the impression he was left with.
    Confidence- everyone he met was confident
    Aspiration- everyone he met had high hopes and expectations
    Togetherness- everyone talked of ‘we’ and ‘us’ and not of ‘me’ and ‘mine’.
    If they can do it, why can't others?"

    A question. How much public money has been spent in Balsall Heath to reach this point? A community doesn't transform without investment.
    --- Why don't you go read about it, you do not need money to do the right thing, this is about doing things together, for each other, rather than being selfish, as the quote states above, it is also multi-culturism actually working.

  • Comment number 97.

    On the speeding issue, I would rather have proper, better policing.

    But on Big Society - sounds more like yet more fluffy idealism, not real solutons.

  • Comment number 98.

    I would like to know who is suppling these people with the names and addresses of the car drivers, I thought we had such a thing as data protection? And have they had the proper checks go though sensitive information? Also do these people work? have they nothing better to do? Its just big brother on the cheap. Power crazed nobodys thinking they are inportant.

    Also have these radars been calabratied? Its just another hit on the car owner, yet again.

  • Comment number 99.

    Big Society = Busy-bodyism and NIMBYism - as if there isn't enough of that already. The big society idea is a joke, and the sooner Mr Cameron realises it and gets on with running the county properly the better it will be for everyone. The idea of fellow citizens doing things like speed patrols stinks of neighbours reporting neighbours to a deceitful, controlling, government.

  • Comment number 100.

    82. At 2:09pm on 15 Nov 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt wrote:

    How does the Big Society work for you?

    Well, as the days and coming months unfold before me, I have a sneaky suspicion that the Big Society will equate to increasing the misery of living in this very messed up nation - So I conclude the big society will not 'work' for me - but maybe further reduce my sense of well being and happiness - Although, I am quite relieved and at ease in the knowledge that our glorious leaders, in their ultimate wisdom, have decreed it necessary to measure my personal decline into unknown misery....and in their benevolence have decided to record the collated data in order that I might get official confirmation of my personal decline into abject misery in this 'big society' - thanks Dave.

    ------------------------------------------

    You might even get a card which gives you clubcard "happiness" points which you can exchange for anti-depressants or an hour at a psychiatrists. There`s utopia (dystopia?) for you ;-)

 

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