SCOTS police are deploying a “cardboard cop” – based on one of their own officers – in a bid to cut speeding.
A life-size cutout picture of PC James Graham, a community officer in Cowdenbeath, is being placed at the roadside of the Fife town.
The pop-up policeman is pointing a radar gun at motorists and locals say the tactic has already proved effective at cutting speeding in the town.
The move was taken after residents complained that speeding hotspots were not being tackled.
The cardboard PC Graham is set up by his human colleagues at the side of a speeding blackspot, left for around an hour, and then moved elsewhere.
Similar schemes to deter speeding have been rolled out across the United States and Hong Kong.
PC Graham, 50, said: “This method of reducing speed in the community has already yielded positive results.”
“Many members of the public [are] commenting on how these ‘models’ are so life-like they have caused them to not only reduce their speed but also act as a reminder of the issues around speeding.”
But PC Graham said motorists who assume they can speed past the cut-outs unhindered should beware – sometimes they will find it’s him.
He said: “If people see the life-sized sign outside the school they might get used to it.
“But then we will replace the sign with myself so they don’t get used to it.”
There will be six versions of the plastic cut-out placed around various parts of Cowdenbeath at a cost of around £1,000, which was met by the local community safety partnership.
PC Graham, who has been an officer for nine years, came up with the idea as he had previously worked as a screen printer.
But he said the signs had led to some awkward situations with other locals: “I heard from one of my neighbours who said ‘thanks very much, you didn’t wave to me today.'”
PC Graham admits other police officers have made fun of the “pop up Jims,”
He said: “I get the mickey ripped all the time.
“But at the same time if it slows people down then we’ve achieved our goal.”
Motoring organisations were sceptical.
A spokesman for the AA said: “I think it’s probably a bit of fun, but equally it might encourage some drivers to slow down.
“It may just warn off some people from speeding, but what happens when the novelty has worn off and there are cobwebs on it?
“We need to tackle speeding, but I think the effect of this will wear off as quickly as the paint on these will in the rain. ”
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “While the presence of a cardboard cut-out policeman with a radar gun may temporarily help to slow down vehicles in this area of Fife, the enforcement of speed limits is very clearly the responsibility of the police or camera safety partnerships so any deviation from this is potentially confusing to motorists.”
Last month it was reported that police in China were placing cardboard police cars at the side of their motorways in a bid to deter speeding. The Chinese cops also installed solar-powered lights to the top of the cars, to make them seem more life like.