BEAT bobbies are to be armed with radar speed guns to tackle speeding drivers on housing estates.

Ten officers from Durham Constabulary have been trained to use the Muni Quip radar speed detector, which enables them to monitor stretches of road where speeding is seen as a problem.

Chief Inspector Jamie McAloon said it has proved a source of frustration for beat bobbies that they have remained powerless to tackle speeding complaints.

"Previously, they have had to pass on reports of speeding to the traffic department for investigation.

"The inevitable time delay involved could lead people in local communities to feel the police aren't doing enough."

Chief Insp McAloon, operations manager for the force's Chester-le-Street and Durham division, said road safety complaints are given a high priority.

"We are committed to the force's road policing strategy to secure an environment in which people can use roads with confidence and safety.

"Excessive speed is often a subject of complaint to officers on the beat.

"Now they have the right tools and training to directly tackle the issue locally, and hopefully deter motorists from offending.

"However, we will continue to work closely with our colleagues in the traffic branch with the aim of providing effective intelligence-led enforcement and high visibility policing," added Chief Insp McAloon.

The new Muni Quip devices were given a trial run yesterday, by PCs Stan Davidson and Steve Martin, from the Framwellgate Moor section office.