27th Feb, 2021

More signing up to Street Watch to patrol Solihull streets say police

Correspondent 25th Jan, 2021

MORE people than ever asking to join the Street Watch scheme organised by West Midlands Police.

The force says there are now 197 Street Watch groups across the Force area, with almost 1,750 volunteers signed up to help make our streets a better and safer place to be.

In the last three months of 2020, some 13 Street Watch groups were set up including in Solihull.

This is despite Street Watch members being unable to go out on patrol at the moment due to the lockdown restriction imposed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

However police say the time hasn’t been wasted with new members getting up to speed thanks to a 40-minute video, which volunteers can watch in their own homes, so when lockdown is over they will all be ready to hit the streets.

The force has also been carrying out extra training with its PCSOs so they’re more confident about letting people know about Street Watch and how to join up.The aim is that once it’s safe to do so, hundreds of Street Watch volunteers will be back out, in their high-visibility jackets patrolling in pairs, to deter crime and anti-social behaviour – as well as helping to build up a sense of community spirit in the places they live.

If they spot broken paving, lights not working, unsightly graffiti or piles of fly-tipped rubbish, they can report those to the council.

But they’re not there to tackle any suspicious activity – but they will know who to report it to so we can deal with it.

Sam O’Dell, the force’s Street Watch co-ordinator, said: “Despite Covid, we’ve been having more enquiries to join Street Watch than ever before.

“Maybe it’s because some people have had more time at home due to furlough or working from home, or maybe it’s a general rise in community spirit.

“But it’s just great to see so many wanting to take part – after all, Street Watch is for the community, by the community.”

There are also plans to extend the scheme by teaming up with the Canal Trust and having volunteers patrol the towpaths and waterways of the West Midlands.

To find out more email streetwatch@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk or call 07391 864258.

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