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Scrutinising the appeal of volunteer Community Speedwatch to policing leaders in England and Wales: Resources, Responsivity and Responsibilisation

Wells, H; Millings, M


M Millings


This article focuses on ‘Community Speedwatch’ (CSW) - a particular volunteering approach that has apparently attracted the attention of senior police decision-makers in England and Wales over recent years. It considers the significance of decisions by many Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and Chief Constables to embrace CSW as a response to calls from the public for action against speeding motorists. CSW is apparently an option that ticks many boxes in a new era characterised by the increasing democratic accountability of the police. Whilst frequently promoted using the popular language of ‘empowerment’, ‘localism’, ‘self-help’ or ‘ownership’, and seemingly well-suited to current trends towards the increasing responsibilisation of the public, CSW should not be looked at as a straightforward example of a concerned public gifting their time to a grateful police. Rather than consider the road safety merits of the scheme, this paper views CSW as something of a tool which PCCs and Chief Constables can use to negotiate the often conflicting demands placed upon them in straightened economic circumstances. The paper draws on 22 interviews conducted with PCCs (during their first tenure) and Chief Constables in England and Wales.

Acceptance Date Aug 16, 2018
Publication Date May 4, 2019
Journal Policing and Society
Print ISSN 1043-9463
Publisher Routledge
Pages 376-391
Keywords Community Speedwatch, Police and Crime Commissioner, Chief Constable, volunteer
Publisher URL