POLICE have confirmed how they are to proceed before starting to enforce Wales' new 20mph speed limit zones.

Following the introduction of the 20mph default speed limit in Wales on September 17, 2023, police have sought to understand how the change has 'affected road users in residential or built-up areas.'

According to North Wales Police, this has done by monitoring speeds and collisions in communities where the speed limit changed from 30mph to 20mph.

And despite widespread expectation that enforcement of the new 20mph zones was to begin in mid-December, it has now been confirmed that the Welsh Government, Police, GoSafe and Fire and Rescue Services in Wales have so far taken an “engagement first” approach to support people with the changes to speed limits. 

A police spokesman explained: "Teams have been visiting communities where speeding is identified, and drivers are offered a discussion with fire and rescue service officers as an alternative to prosecution. 

"This partnership approach has been utilised for many years in multiple road safety campaigns. 

"Its aim is to inform the public of the road safety benefits of driving slower in areas where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix, with a view to securing better compliance in future."

The engagement sessions will continue throughout 2024, supported by a Welsh Government Grant. 

And from January 8, dedicated teams will be working under GoSafe to deliver them under the name ‘Operation Ugain’.

Enforcement in 20mph areas started to be reintroduced at the beginning of November 2023 - but this was in existing 20mph enforcement locations that "weren’t affected by the legislation change, had the correct signage in place, and continued to show evidence of road safety risk."

Following what police have described as a "bedding in period," officers in Wales will be reviewing the compliance data this month.

A police spokesman continued: "This will provide an understanding of how the new speed limits are being adhered to and whether lack of compliance is increasing road safety risk. 

"Policing will look at collision data, and other risk factors, before considering an approach for enforcement of 20mph in future.

"Enforcement sites will only be approved for where the data, including speed compliance data, shows that there will be a road safety benefit from enforcing. 

"Before enforcement is conducted at any new 20mph locations, it will be preceded by active engagement with partners and communities, with advance notice of the agreed policy to be published on the four Welsh police force and GoSafe websites in advance of any action taken.

"The enforcement approach for 20mph has been one of transparency and proportionality, with a dedicated web resource outlining these policies, and frequently asked questions being published online. 

"Our aim is to ensure compliance with the speed limits for the benefit of road safety, not to catch people out. 

"Enforcement is carried out where there is evidence of risk and harm to people and each location is assessed prior to enforcement taking place."