Blunham Community Street Watch launches in village
'We are an arms length body for the police force'
Blunham Community Street Watch was proud to launch this weekend, as its members hope to inspire other communities to join the fight against crime.
On Saturday, May 29, the group held its official launch in the car park of The Horseshoes pub, complete with a visit from PCSOs, a police officer and a mobile police station.
The team of volunteers will be patrolling the village and providing intelligence to the police, while they will also be a friendly face to whom residents can raise their concerns.
Rosey Woodhead, co-lead co-ordinator of Blunham Community Street Watch, told the Chronicle: "We are an arms length body for the police force.
"I think it's a great opportunity to bring people together and it brings a sense of reassurance - especially in a community with elderly residents or vulnerable adults.
"We've had people saying that they saw us in our high vis jackets and they think it's really good.
"Hopefully this will encourage other remote villages to come forward and build their own Street Watch teams; you can create an active and fruitful engagement between your community and the police force."
The idea to launch Blunham Community Street Watch was initiated by Rosey and fellow villagers Phil Eves and Chris Smith, with Chris and Rosey also being co-leads for the Blunham Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
While the Neighbourhood Watch scheme provides people with advice and receives crime statistics, the residents felt that the village needed a stronger physical presence - a Street Watch group.
Rosey said: "We had quite a bit of unwanted vehicle crime since the start of the year. The community Facebook group was going wild.
"The criminals were being really brazen, they were spotted on ring cameras and CCTVs, checking doors.
"Being a remote village, it takes a little while for a response, and by the time the police arrive, whoever it was has scarpered and left the damage behind."
The team has been working closely with Bedfordshire Police's Street Watch Lead, Juliet Wright, to mobilise a group of volunteers in their village, as Street Watch itself is led by Bedfordshire Police in partnership with the local community.
The force has provided the group with training and public liability insurance, as well as equipment including high vis jackets, a torch, personal alarm, notebook and pens.
The Beds Police team were also in attendance at the launch to inaugurate and induct the volunteers.
Rosey said: "Our thanks go to our volunteers, Blunham community and Beds Police Street Watch Scheme Team. Together we aim to work to keep our community safe and help deter crime in the best way possible."
Street Watch members are community citizens with no police powers. If they see anything suspicious, all they are asked to do is report it to the police.
If you would like to volunteer, the commitment requires only a minimum of two hours per month. All volunteers will be trained, equipped and guided.
To enquire about Street Watch in Bedfordshire, email [email protected]