Last Friday I had the opportunity to go on patrol with Street Watch on Bemerton Heath. This is a new initiative, which originates from Hampshire, and is being piloted locally.
The idea is that members of the public will spend time, in pairs, voluntarily patrolling the streets of their community noting down any concerns that arise.
Working closely with police community support officers and the community beat manager, in this case PC Simon Davies, the community creates a central point for gathering information on a simple database. The scheme allows residents to feel that there is some visible support from public-spirited people.
I was impressed with the simplicity of the scheme, necessitating very little cost but already having a big impact on relationships within the community and increasing the responsiveness of the police to local crime.
Wiltshire Police envisage that the scheme can be rolled out across the constituency in the future. Perhaps the residents of The Close will be keen to consider it now that the Close Constables no longer exist?
Following my patrol and a brief visit to see Edward Callaghan at Bemerton Heath’s Neighbourhood Centre to see progress at the new multi-purpose hall that Ricky Rogers and his team are rapidly building I moved on to meet South Wilts Mencap members’ at their Carers lunch in the Arts Centre.
I continue to maximise my visibility around the community – I look forward to attending Salisbury District’s Older Peoples’ Forum in Exeter Street on Friday and the dedication service of the new church bells at St Andrew’s Church, Nunton as well as speaking at a village barbecue in Bishopstone on Sunday.