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Street Watch plans for Amesbury
9:50am Saturday 9th February 2013 in News
PLANS for a Street Watch scheme are being developed in Amesbury in a bid to tackle antisocial behaviour.
In recent months there has been a catalogue of problems on the Archers Gate estate including theft from the Co-op store, vandalism and large groups of youths congregating to drink alcohol.
There has also been a break-in at the Bowman Community Centre and evidence of drug use.
Street Watch schemes rely on volunteers who go out in pairs to patrol their local communities.
They are encouraged to engage with potential troublemakers to prevent crimes and liaise with police if people are breaking the law.
The volunteers’ role includes sharing intelligence with police, letting people know the consequences of their actions and offering alternatives to hanging around on the streets.
“This is about getting local people to reclaim their communities and taking action to stop trouble happening,” said Amesbury councillor Peter Beyfus, who is leading the campaign to recruit Street Watch volunteers.
“We want people to take a pride in their community.
“The police work very hard but this is an extra presence on the streets to tackle persistent crime and antisocial behaviour.”
Wiltshire’s first Street Watch scheme was set up in Bemerton Heath, Salisbury, with a team of dedicated crime fighters – including some in their seventies – patrolling the neighbourhood to help resolve issues such as vandalism, illegal parking, graffiti and litter.
Volunteers say that often people are more willing to talk to them than the police, and they have forged links to make communities stronger.
Cllr Beyfus is now looking to recruit between 10 and 15 volunteers who will be asked to patrol for a minimum of two hours per month, probably between 7pm and 9pm.
Full training will be provided.
The scheme would run in addition to Neighbourhood Watch, which already operates on Archers Gate, and has the backing of the town council and local police.
“Mostly it is bored youths hanging around and causing trouble,” said cllr Beyfus.
“We need to talk to them, find out what they want and maybe offer an alternative such as a youth club or coffee bar.
“Hopefully we can help them understand that this rowdy behaviour is intimidating and upsetting.
“And the vandalism has to stop. By breaking into the Bowman Centre, which is a community building, they are hurting themselves too.
“They are part of the community and it’s in everyone’s interests that we do this.”
To find out more about becoming a Street Watch volunteer email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Amesbury Town Council 01980 622999.