British police turn to citizens to set speed traps

| 11/24/2008

Many homeowners in quiet neighborhoods probably have the same dream. A car comes whizzing by going way over the posted limit and, for a moment, they wish they were cops so they could pull the offender over.

Police in Britain are making that dream come true in towns and villages across the country. The Daily Mail reported that a new program will assemble bands of citizen volunteers in local communities and supply them with speed detection equipment, signs and high-visibility jackets.

The volunteers will record the license plate numbers of speeders and turn them over to police, who will then check the plates on the national computer database and send a warning to the motorist. Anyone who gets three such warnings can be targeted by police for prosecution.

Critics of the program say it risks turning neighbors against neighbors and encourages vigilantism. One of the first communities in Britain to try the program was forced to disband it after outcries from angry townspeople when children were found to be working the speed cameras.