Hampshire Constabulary has been slammed for refusing to prioritise taking action against speeders in Beech.

Concern has been rising in the village since March 2020 when a runner suffered life changing injuries in a collision with a car in Medstead Road.

On July 21, Alton policeman Sgt Rob Jones emailed Beech Road Safety Working Group chair Sir Charles Cockburn to highlight Hampshire County Council’s consultation on 20mph speed limits in towns and villages.

Sir Charles responded by saying his group was aware of the consultation and said research had shown that although motorists were as likely to exceed a 20mph limit as a 30mph one, they would do so at a lower speed – typically 25mph.

He added: “The difference in fatalities – a 45 per cent chance of fatality in collision between motor vehicle and pedestrian at 30mph reduces to five per cent at 20mph – justifies the speed limit reduction.

“One vehicle went through Beech at 61mph. It would be good to see a police response to this evidence with more enforcement visits.”

Sgt Jones said: “We have been unable to resource speeding enforcement action in Beech in the recent months. I am hopeful that when the busy summer period is over, we will be better placed to re-assess.”

Sir Charles answered: “The failure to urgently address the issue of enforcement, and the role that our investment in average speed cameras can play in that process, is now becoming scandalous. We have the technology but the appalling failure on the part of the police to deploy it has created both anger and frustration in our village. There has to be a change in priorities.”

Ch Insp Habib Rahman, the district commander, said: “East Hampshire is a large policing district made up of three policing sectors. Our priorities are incidents that cause high harm and involve vulnerable people, such as most serious violence, domestic abuse and serious sexual offences. The nature of these offences causes the most harm to people and this is where our focus must be.

“However, we understand the concerns raised and continue to listen to the community and encourage two-way communication with partners and communities to allow us to identify areas of risk. If the community in Beech would like to explore setting up a Community Speedwatch scheme in the area we would be happy to discuss that with them.”