A REPORT FROM THE STREETWATCH TEAM
“We are, currently, 9 individuals who have come together to help create the sort of environment and village we all, hopefully, want to live in.
“We have only been up and running for 5 or 6 weeks.
“We did a fair bit of training at first. In our 5 to 6 weeks on the streets, then during this time we are averaging at least 2 patrols per week. There are other StreetWatchers in Bedfordshire; Ampthill, Biggleswade, Houghton Regis, Harlington, Marston and Barton all have StreetWatch in their village. StreetWatch is a national group with co-ordinators in Sussex, Hampshire, Suffolk and Northamptonshire. More and more counties and small towns and villages are signing up to StreetWatch in a bid to help the Police to tackle those types of disturbances that are a constant irritant to most people living within their own community.
“You may have noticed two or more of us walking the streets of our village at all times of the day – mainly in the evenings though. We don’t have any specific route but we try and cover all areas of the village – from the top of Badger Hill (Clophill Road) all the way through to Snow Hill and as much in between as we can manage.
“Each ‘patrol’ lasts, on average, an hour – during that time we say hello to the folks of the village and chat to anyone about what we are doing. You may have noticed us resplendent in our HiVis jackets with STREETWATCH on the back and a BEDFORDSHIRE POLICE badge on the front.
“We are equipped by Beds Police and work under their guidelines and are fully insured by them. We are totally non-confrontational but have a duty of care for most circumstances. We are merely extra sets of eyes and ears for Beds Police!
“We are NOT Police Officers, PCSO’S Or Special Police Constables; We ARE volunteers assisting the police in keeping a serene and pleasant environment.
“We will endeavour to assist in any given situation that falls within our criteria.
“As a StreetWatch volunteer we have access to the StreetWatch website. This allows us to complete a full report after our patrol. This information is read by Beds Police. We can also email the PCSO responsible for our village to inform her of anything suspicious that we found on our patrol. This information is then acted upon.
“The StreetWatch volunteers are from a variety of different backgrounds and all have different working lives; some have lived here all their lives, some have only been here a couple of years. Some work shifts, some are parents with small children and some work in London or farther afield – however we all share the same ideal that was mentioned earlier; that is to live in a good and stable village where everyone can get on with their lives without;
- having to worry about their small child walking to school and treading in dog mess;
- seeing litter left on a verge where it’s been indiscriminately thrown from a car window;
- putting up with spray painted obscenities on the apparatus at the Rec;
- seeing dogs treated cruelly whilst out with an irresponsible “owner”;
- cars speeding through the village
“We live in a lovely rural village in Bedfordshire where the majority of people take pride in where they live, we are all about ensuring that continues.”
How to Help
“If you would like to join us – then you are more than welcome! There is no upward limit of how many volunteers we can have. You get some fresh air walking the village with people who you don’t know but who share the same values as you – and you get a wind-up torch!”
Say hello to them next time you see them!