Traffic police in Edinburgh have begun enforcing 20mph limits for the first time under a new ‘service level agreement’ between Edinburgh City Council and Police Scotland, according to a report in The Scotsman.
The Scotsman report says that police officers will be positioned at accident blackspots in Edinburgh, which is working towards becoming the first city in Scotland to introduce 20mph limits across all residential areas.
The news report says that until now “police have been unwilling to devote resources to 20mph speed traps but this will change under a deal struck with city chiefs”.
Edinburgh City Council has made enforcement of 20mph areas part of its service level agreement with Police Scotland. Under the agreement the council has provided £2.6m of funding to pay for 44 community constables and 12 city centre police officers.
The service level agreement – which The Scotsman says is the first of its kind – gives the council the right to a refund if officers are switched from their community role without approval.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh’s transport convenor, said the move would “send a clear message” to motorists.
Talking to The Scotsman, councillor Hinds said: “From our research and consultation with residents, we know that there’s widespread support in Edinburgh for a 20mph limit in residential streets, shopping areas and the city centre.
“Lower speeds in residential areas and shopping streets are not just good for safety and environmental reasons. Slower traffic makes streets more attractive to residents, pedestrians, cyclists and children, improves the environment for business and enhances quality of life.”
Superintendent Matt Richards, Police Scotland, said: “Plans to target distinct areas will be jointly discussed with partners and will be based primarily on accident and casualty numbers.
“This includes 20mph zones where prevention, warnings, patrols and enforcement activity are all options where appropriate, especially in areas where schools exist.”
The Scotsman says that statistics show that 97% of casualties hit by a car at 20mph will survive compared with just 50% at 30mph. The paper also says a “lack of enforcement has been a major gripe for pedestrian and cyclist pressure groups for years”.