For years the residents of Perranarworthal campaigned for something to be done about speeding on a stretch of road which had become notorious for serious and fatal collisions.

The village is one of hundreds across Devon and Cornwall to set up a Community Speedwatch scheme, which provides police support and training for residents so they can monitor dangerous driving and identify repeat offenders.

Speed cameras – or safety cameras to give them their proper name – are not always the right answer to tackle people who drive too fast. Cornwall Council, part of the Vision Zero road safety partnership which is trying to drastically reduce casualties across Devon and Cornwall, tried introducing pedestrian islands and other features at Perranarworthal to make it clear drivers were entering a residential area.

The Speedwatch group were able to prove that speed continued to be a problem, and earlier this year Cornwall Council agreed to install average speed cameras.

Perhaps because they work so well, these cameras are not popular with those who choose to flout the law and put lives at risk. On Friday (Oct 6) residents found that vandals had cut through the poles which hold the cameras up, causing significant damage to them.

There are still far too many lives ruined by dangerous driving here in Devon and Cornwall, and far too much evidence of it. At the weekend police stopped several high-end vehicles, including Porsches and Range Rovers, apparently street racing at double the speed limit in south Devon.

And for those car enthusiasts who say that driving at high speeds is not the cause of collisions, that is simply not true. Speeding carries with it a greater risk of losing car control, and increases the likelihood and severity of accidents when they occur. That is why it is one of the ‘fatal five’ behaviours which cause the majority of collisions, with the others being drink/drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, distraction and careless driving.

And for those who hate safety cameras I have some bad news for you. The Perranarworthal cameras will be repaired. More of the bi-directional ones, which cover both carriageways of a road with a single camera, will be rolled out soon around our force area. Last year 48 people were killed and 738 people were seriously injured on Devon and Cornwall’s roads. I start all Vision Zero meetings by reading out the names of those killed since our last meeting. It is a sobering moment which reminds us of our commitment to our communities.

I make no apology for the fact that the cameras will keep coming until that list is a thing of the past.