On the 1st December 2011 Haddon Way Residents association (HWRA) launched its own Streetwatch initiative. Nicknamed ‘Loughborough Outwoods’ the scheme is the first in Leicestershire acting as an independent group of community members working to build their community.
‘Street Watch’ is a partnership between local communities and the police which aims to strengthen the feeling of belonging and security in their area through visible civilian patrols. It is similar to existing Neighbourhood Watch Schemes but focuses more on green spaces.
The development on and around the Haddon Way estate is relatively new, with houses being built over the past 15 years. There isn’t a hub (such as a community centre or local shops) to bring its residents together so for the past 5 years, HWRA has been working to build a sense of community to the area. Getting out and about in the area is a great way for people to get to know each other better and Streetwatch is a perfect reason to do that with the added benefit of knowing that there is a line of communication to the Police should anything more serious come to light.
Our aim is to make people feel comfortable in their community, helping to build relationships and ensuring that the elderly and vulnerable are looked out for. The scheme will be loosely based around the Streetwatch principles of residents acting as ‘good citizens’ and will provide a framework for disseminating information and building community bonds. Streetwatch is independent of the police, but will have close communications with local beat officers. This provides a direct route for useful information to be passed to the community quickly and effectively, and empowering the community to take ownership and responsibility for the local area.
Residents, who have been vetted by the police, work on a rota, usually in pairs, to ensure a regular presence on the streets. Wearing high-visibility jackets, they walk the area and talk to fellow residents about matters of concern and pass any relevant issues back to the local police. They have no special powers and are encouraged to let police deal with incidents.
PC 4430 Anna Lynn, has worked with residents living in the Haddon Way area of Loughborough to get the scheme up and running. She said; “As a beat officer it is great to work with communities which have a pride in their area and want to do everything they can to help the police. The Street Watch scheme has worked very successfully elsewhere so it seemed a great idea to set one up in the residential streets around Haddon Way which make up the cul de sac.”
“The scheme is based on good citizenship involving volunteers with a strong sense of community spirit and a desire to reduce anti-social behaviour in their area who are prepared to give up their time to walk the streets.”
As the scheme progresses, we hope that more and more residents will become involved. Our scheme motto is – ‘local residents looking after each other, looking out for each other’.
Several other counties already have schemes in place after the concept was introduced by residents of the Hampshire town of Four Marks. The National scheme was forced to close after a failure to obtain further funding. However, many independent schemes are still in operation all over the country.
Update August 2015
Due to lack of support, the Street Watch scheme has for the present been suspended.