'Harassment' forces village speedwatch team to close

East Cambs police speedwatch

Last month, East Cambridgeshire police posted photos of many of their speedwatch volunteers who “dedicated more than 60 hours of their own time across Cambridgeshire this week”. It was Global Road Safety Week. - Credit: Policing East Cambridgeshire

A village speedwatch team was disbanded because of alleged harassment and intimidation.  

Prickwillow Speedwatch ran for three years but came to an end before Christmas after lead co-ordinator, Brian Gerbaldi and his wife say they were intimidated by motorcyclists.

Despite the suspects being known to police, villagers are questioning why no action has been taken.  

Local resident Rupert Moss-Eccardt, who stood for police and crime commissioner (PCC) at the May elections, said: “It’s disappointing that around two individuals have ruined it for everybody.  

“It seems rather odd that the behaviour was understood but no action has been taken. I don’t understand.”  

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It is not known how long the harassment and intimidation continued.   

Mr Moss-Eccardt is calling on the newly elected PCC Darryl Preston to clarify what he proposes to do about it.  

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He said: “Everyone knows it has happened, so for police to continue to be trusted by the community, they must make a public statement.   

“If I was the PCC, I would get chief constable Nick Dean to deliver a public statement. The community deserves an answer.”  

Rupert Moss-Eccardt Ely Police Station

Local resident Rupert Moss-Eccardt, who stood for Police and Crime Commissioner this year, hopes the Prickwillow Speedwatch team will return. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Lib Dems

Wendy Wilson, secretary of Prickwillow Village Council, said Mr Gerbaldi received no help from police or relevant councils on the situation, and is unsure why this is the case.  

Ms Wilson said: “I don’t know the people involved, but I know they are known to police as well.    

“Threatening behaviour towards anybody is a no-go. As to why police haven’t acted, I couldn’t tell you.  

“There were around two or three motorcyclists involved, and we are upset the speedwatch team cannot continue.”  

Mr Gerbaldi declined to comment, while Cambridgeshire police or the PCC’s office are yet to respond.  

One resident branded the police response to the situation as “utterly disgraceful”. 

It is unclear whether the speedwatch team will return but Mr Moss-Eccardt is confident will happen.  

“I think if there was a re-establishment of trust within the police, there could be a return,” he said.  

“But if the speedwatch team can do their job without systemic intimidation, I think they might step up as the village needs this.”    

Two years ago, local councillor Lis Every praised the Prickwillow Speedwatch team who she said had “ identified real problems of speeding” and she thanked police for responding. 

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