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Bemerton Street Watch team praised by police
A VOLUNTEER street watch team in Salisbury have been praised by Wiltshire Police’s new superintendent.
Superintendent Charlie Armstrong met the Bemerton Heath Street Watch team on Monday with Inspector Dave Minty, community beat manager Juliet Cox and PCSO Stephanie Biggs.
The group of crime fighting grannies became international stars after the Journal highlighted their efforts to make the community a safer place in 2011.
They hit the national headlines and made numerous television appearances.
The group started off with four members, who are neighbours and friends, and there are now 15 people who regularly patrol the streets.
“It’s a community looking after a community,” said original member Sheila Bevis, who lives in Glyndebourne Close.
The group’s efforts have proved successful, resulting in a 30 per cent decrease in crime in the area.
“You can’t blame the police for everything and you can’t blame the council for everything,” said Mrs Bevis. “We have always been there for one another and we just get on with it.”
Supt Armstrong said: “It’s incredibly humbling that members of a community have come together in the way they have to deal with the problems they are facing. To pull a team of people from a neighbourhood like this is a fantastic lesson in how to motivate. The fact that it is so prominent in the neighbourhood means it is guaranteed to get our support and interest. We have the responsibility now to support this group.”
The group is set to be mentioned in Parliament by Salisbury MP John Glen after the summer recess.
Mr Glen wrote to the street watch team to tell them he intends to mention their hard work and Mrs Bevis said the group will travel to London for the occasion.