Residents and road users in South Shropshire will start to see a new recruit from West Mercia Police taking to the streets in the coming weeks as ‘Bob’ the new pop-up cop is trialled in the area as an additional tool to deter speeding.
However, Bob is no ordinary officer. Pop-up cops are life size cut-outs of a police officer in high-vis clothing, holding a handheld speed camera. Used alongside high-visibility patrols and speed enforcement activity, two pop up cops are being trialled across South Shropshire to act as a reminder to motorists to think about their speed, and encourage them to drive in a responsible manner.
Already used elsewhere across the UK, pop-up cops are not used in place of genuine officers, but aim to complement existing policing activity and can be deployed to areas where speeding has been reported as an issue and in response to local community concerns.
‘Bob’ was launched last week on the B4368 in Munslow, where speed data collected earlier this year highlighted a speed compliance issue with 15% of vehicles travelling above 37mph. Speed enforcement activity has already taken place numerous times since by speed enforcement officers within the Road Safety Team and by the Safer Neighbourhood Team.
During the launch event last week in Munslow, members of the Safer Neighbourhood Team carried out speed monitoring. 77 vehicles were monitored with an average speed of 28mph and 9 recorded as travelling above the 30mph speed limit.
Sergeant Damien Kelly from West Mercia Police who is managing the trial said “Keeping communities safe is one of our organisational priorities and pop up cops are simply an additional tool we can use alongside our partners to respond to community concerns about speeding.
“The idea initially came from one of our own officers who saw a pop up cop being used in Scotland while he was on holiday. At first glance, Bob does make you check your speed which is a positive reminder about road safety in itself. We appreciate that motorists will quickly realise that Bob is a cut-out, which is why we will be using him smartly and efficiently alongside other speed prevention activity.
“We hope that the use of Bob, as well as our regular speed enforcement activity, will encourage drivers travelling in South Shropshire to change their behaviour and drive at a lower, safer speed. This will help to improve the quality of life for people living in the area and improve the safety of the road for all those who use them.”
Made of waterproof corrugated plastic, Bob will be managed by the Safer Neighbourhood Team within each area he is used, with each location being fully risk assessed for safety beforehand.