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Pupils have joined forces with police in a bid to catch speeding motorists outside a busy Sunderland school
01 Feb | 17:00

Officers have launched a new community initiative in partnership with English Martyrs School and Sunderland City Council to encourage drivers to curb their speed on Redcar Road.

It follows a series of concerns raised by residents, parents and staff that motorists are putting the lives of children at risk by ignoring the 30mph limit and driving too fast near the Southwick school.

Last week, officers were invited into the classroom to show pupils how to use the speed guns as part of a road safety session – and then the children put the equipment to the test at the roadside.

PC Louise Turnbull, of Northumbria Police, said: “This is a really busy road and it’s important that we get the message across to drivers that speeding can pose a significant risk to the children and staff at the school.

“The road is relatively straight which can make some motorists think it is safe to drive at a quicker speed. However, it is also a road where a lot of pedestrians cross – many of whom are young people going to and from the school.

“As a result, extra care and attention is needed when driving on this road.  Erratic behaviour behind the wheel and speeding has the potential to be dangerous and could lead to fatal consequences.

“We’re delighted to be working with English Martyrs School, as well as Sunderland City Council, to ensure this important message is heard loud and clear across the community. We all have to work together to keep children safe and reduce the risk of a potentially disastrous incident.

“Officers will continue to keep a close watch on the speed that vehicles travel on this road and take appropriate action against anybody who chooses to ignore the law.”

Paula Cornell, headteacher at English Martyrs School, admits speeding has been an issue outside the school gates for some time and has delivered her own message to motorists.

She said: “Protecting pupils is our absolute priority, and everybody in the local community has a role to play in ensuring our young children are kept safe and away from harm.

“We were keen to work with the police to help educate our children about road safety, but we are also encouraging drivers to please take a moment to think of the potential consequences of driving too fast. A split-second delay in reaction time could make a huge difference.

“The children have really enjoyed working with the police and the council on this project, and I hope it makes a difference and encourages motorists to think twice about their speed.”

As part of the initiative, pupils have taken part in a competition to design a roadside poster that can be used to warn motorists of the danger speed poses and encourage them to slow down.

The most eye-catching entry will then be selected by Cllr Alex Samuels, ward councillor for Southwick, and created into large signs to be placed on the approach to the school.

“I am absolutely delighted to support this fantastic initiative with police and the school, and hope it can have a big impact in making the road safer,” Cllr Samuels said.

“The most important thing is the safety of the children who attend this school and live in the local area. Hopefully through this campaign, and the fantastic posters that have been created, we can tackle this problem and make the area a safer place for all.

"The council is also committed to carrying out surveys on the road with a view to improving road safety."

Slow down- that's the message from pupils in Sunderland
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