Residents could soon be out on the beat in their town if a pilot scheme in Raunds goes ahead.
A public meeting has been held in Irthlingborough about Street Watch, a new initiative due to be trialled in the town by police which would see residents patrol the streets to discourage low-level issues that affect the most people.
It is hoped Street Watch members, who will be in pairs wearing high-visibility jackets, will help prevent crime by “improving security, increasing vigilance and community spirit and reducing opportunities for crime by increasing crime prevention awareness”.
Despite little interest from members of the public, police say the meeting still proved productive.
Sgt Andy Maher, who is leading the scheme, said: “There was a lot of attendance by town councillors but not by members of the public.
“It was a little disappointing but it worked in my favour because it gave the councillors who turned up a better understanding of what the scheme is and they could ask questions.
“I need the support of the council to push it through the community.
“The most support was from Raunds Town Council and Cllr Helen Howell.
“She was so keen and said it tied in with their vision for Raunds that they have asked to run the pilot instead of Irthlingborough.”
Sgt Maher said: “I think there’s apprehension for a lot of people because we have had the usual discussions of ‘this is policing on the cheap’, which I had expected.”
But he added: “I describe it as Neighbourhood Watch on steroids.”
Sgt Maher praised the work of Neighbourhood Watch in the county, and said Street Watch would be an extension of the work they do.
Its members will report any suspicious activity in the area, provide accurate information about crime to their neighbours and look out for vulnerable people.
The scheme could also be beneficial for those looking for employment or volunteering work or those interested in a career with the police.
He said: “It’s a community scheme run by the community but supported by the police.”
Further meetings will be held in January, and if the pilot scheme is successful in Raunds, it is hoped it can be extended elsewhere in the county, with Kettering and Daventry already showing an interest.