Great Cornard: Volunteers to ‘patrol’ streets
SUFFOLK police are urging residents to sign up to a scheme to keep the streets safer ahead of impending police budget cuts.
The Street Watch Scheme, already in place across Suffolk, will be launched in Great Cornard at the end of the month.
Sergeant Sarah Shrubshall, who is co-ordinating the scheme, said it was not about policing or “replacing police officers”.
“It is about local residents helping to build stronger and safer neighbourhoods by walking their own streets and to increase a sense of community within their local area,” she said.
“With budget cuts to come, we have to look at innovative ways of doing things and involving willing residents to help keep their communities safe.”
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She said the scheme was already up and running in Ipswich and she was confident residents in Great Cornard would want to support the initiative.
“It is consistent with the Government’s big society drive and we are fully supportive of it,” she added.
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According to Sgt Shrubshall, the Street Watch will be run by volunteer residents who want to take ownership of their public spaces through high-visibility patrols.
Volunteers will be required to walk the streets in pairs, armed with mobile phones. A minimum of six people, aged 18 to 75, are required for a scheme to start in a neighbourhood.
Inspector Paul Crick, of the Babergh Safer Neighbourhood Team, insisted the volunteers would not be policing.
“They will be walking their areas and engaging with people they encounter where appropriate and when it is safe to do so,” he said.
“It’s about taking an interest in what is going on in your area, reducing crime, building feelings of safety and improving communication with police and our partners.”
A meeting is being held for anyone interested in volunteering for the scheme at 7pm on Wednesday, March 30, in the Srevenson Centre, Great Cornard.
Street Watch members will undergo police checks and will be regulated through operating guidance codes of conduct.
Each scheme will cost �500 a year to run, which covers insurance and high-visibility jackets for volunteers.
For more information on the scheme go to www.street-watch.org.uk.