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Sunday May 24
|
5:59

Street Watch

Sussex Police have agreed that Street Watch will be piloted on an area in West Sussex and it could then be rolled out across the Force.

Street Watch has been running in Hampshire since 2006 and has since been replicated in around a quarter of the police forces across the UK. The idea is that volunteers patrol the streets in high visibility jackets with the aim of providing reassurance, engaging with community issues and reducing anti-social behaviour.

The scheme is run by coordinators within the community and every volunteer is police checked. Officers link in with Street Watch members regularly to share information on issues such as crime prevention and areas currently experiencing anti-social behaviour. Examples of the work members in Sussex will undertake include:

  • Alerting officers to fly tipping
  • Contacting the right people to get graffiti removed
  • Engaging with groups of young people
  • Getting supermarket trolleys returned.

It is non-confrontational and every member has the responsibility to act within the law and has personal accountability for their own actions. Street Watch members have no powers other than what is stated in law for any citizen. Street Watch is about community minded people serving their community through positive citizenship. If a Street Watch member witnesses a criminal act in progress, they are advised to do exactly what other members of the public should do - follow the safest option of staying at a safe distance and calling '999'. Similar to Neighbourhood Watch, there is no police supervision although PCSOs will sometimes go out on patrol with Street Watch members.

Street Watch should enable our Neighbourhood Policing Teams to work more closely with people in their communities and highlight areas that need additional patrolling and problem solving.

Assistant Chief Constable for Neighbourhood Policing, Robin Merrett said: "It is vital that the police work with their communities and Street Watch is one of the ways that people can get involved in keeping the area they live in a safe place.

"The scheme is already proving successful elsewhere in the country and I am confident we can build upon that good work here in Sussex.

"I believe this new scheme will complement the work already being done by organisations such as Neighbourhood Watch and the Street Pastors and I look forward to being able to update you when we have more information."

The first patrol will take place on Thursday 26th January when volunteers will meet at Littlehampton Police Station to carry out a 30 minute patrol around the community with local PCSOs.

If you are interested in taking part in Street Watch in Sussex, email Sergeant Peter Allan - peter.allan@sussex.pnn.police.uk