Cops putting special watch on villages

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A new crime prevention scheme involving Parish Special Constables working alongside community ‘Watch’ members is to be launched in Bedfordshire towns and villages following Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins’ consultations with residents and parish councils.

The Commissioner has commissioned Operation Salcoats as a crime prevention and community reassurance scheme in response to feedback he has received.

This latest addition to visible policing reflects his own commitment to tackling not only serious crime but also problems which affect residents’ quality of life.

Due to start tomorrow (Saturday), it results from Mr Martins’ attendance at Parish Council meetings across the county when he highlighted the policing challenges faced by Bedfordshire Police.

Mr Martins said: “Our first dedicated Parish Special Constables will be working on this operation directly with the Watch schemes to ensure enforcement of speed offences, carry out home burglary surveys and promote community engagement.

“This is the sort of scheme that I believe will bring much benefit to our local communities, helping them to feel safer and boosting each community’s sense of involvement in their neighbourhoods.”

Just like their long-established Specials colleagues, the Parish Special Constables have the power to arrest and issue fines.

This, the Commissioner points out: “supports the visible policing that is so important for increasing confidence in communities.”

Mark Collins, Bedfordshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable said: “Bedfordshire Police is committed to serving rural areas and Operation Salcoats enhances that by introducing dedicated Community Special Constables with a particular remit to liaise and work even more closely with our Parish Councils and local Watch schemes.

“Partnership and problem-solving work like this supports the vision of the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner to protect people and fight crime together.”

The Commissioner invited all Parish Council chairs and Watch scheme coordinators to a briefing at Police Headquarters last week so they can see how the operation will work.

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