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Speed seminars - definitive proof of benefits?
Evaluation appears to show that speed seminars in Humberside are having a positive impact on re-offending patterns.
Humberside Police, in partnership with Hull, East Riding, North and North East Lincolnshire councils began offering speed seminars as an alternative to prosecution back in June 2001. The provision was expanded during 2002 and the scheme currently deals with around 1000 clients per month. The course costs the offender £50, lasts two hours and is classroom based.
"The content is designed to challenge driver attitudes - for the majority of drivers, speeding isn't a skill issue," says Hull road safety's Mark Jessop .
Each seminar begins with a presentation from an ADI who has teaching qualifications. The second half of the seminar is delivered by a police officer with considerable traffic experience.
"Pilot seminars were evaluated using traditional, and it has to be said largely irrelevant, questionnaire based techniques," Mark Jessop adds. "It quickly became apparent that the 'How was it for you?' approach offered no prospect of revealing how effective the seminars were. Over 90 per cent of clients say that they are less likely to speed after attending a Humberside course, but are they telling the truth?"
A more objective method of evaluation - looking at re-offending rates among clients compared with drivers who have received a fine and points - was thus introduced.
The latest evaluation looked at 500 drivers who had attended a seminar and compared their re-offending patterns, with another batch of 500 who had received a £60 fine and three points.
12 months after the course, eight per cent of the first group had re-offended, while in the same period 25 per cent of those who received a fine and points had re-offended. Definitive proof, perhaps, of the advantages of an educational rather than punitive approach?
"We also carry out detailed monitoring of individual presenter performance and all the usual stuff about the venue and the tea and coffee - but what the seminars set out to do is to change driver behaviour, so why not measure that?" Mark Jessop concludes.
The next evaluation will use even bigger samples and look at longer periods post course or fine.
For further information contact Mark Jessop, .