Volunteers take to the streets, but won’t ‘replace police’

Leighton Buzzard

Leighton Buzzard

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Street Watch, a volunteer-led initiative, is set to launch in Leighton Buzzard on Saturday (18 February), and residents are invited to meet volunteers from the group and officers from Bedfordshire Police.

The Leighton Buzzard Street Watch group is made up of 16 volunteers, and will officially launch in the town on Saturday.

After a launch event in the morning, which will be attended by senior police officers and a representative from the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the volunteers will make their way into Leighton Buzzard to meet local residents and promote the scheme.

Street Watch enables local residents to promote good citizenship, provide visible reassurance and appropriately engage in local issues that matter most to their communities.

Volunteers are asked to commit two hours a month to patrol their communities, are offered a number of comprehensive training packages before they start, and wear high-visibility vests and carry identification.

Juliet Wright, who is the force’s Street Watch Co-ordinator, said: “Street Watch is a national scheme which Bedfordshire has embraced wholeheartedly. Street Watch is not a replacement for a policing presence in any area; members work closely with the force to encourage information sharing and partnership working, and the scheme allows us to work more closely with our communities.

“Officers and Specials from the force will be out and about in the town centre on Saturday with our new Street Watch volunteers, ready to meet as many people from Leighton Buzzard as we can. Everyone is welcome to come and meet us and find out more about how Street Watch works.”

Including the new group in Leighton Buzzard there are currently 13 Street Watch groups across the county, with another due to launch in Haynes within the next month.