Wellingborough residents' community project launched after violent robberies 'has reduced crime'

Members of Community Watch prepare for a patrol
Members of Community Watch prepare for a patrol

Wellingborough residents who created a community initiative to make their neighbourhood safer and cleaner are seeing positive results, says a police inspector.

After a spate of violent high-value burglaries in 2018 that resulted in an increase in crime and a sense of fear among them, residents in the Victoria, Brickhill and Ise wards of the town formed Community Watch.

The group during a community clear-up

The group during a community clear-up

The project is funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner and supported by the borough council and an increasing amount of residents.

Wellingborough police inspector Sara-Louise Parrot said: "In the areas where street watch and neighbourhood watch groups have been most active, we have seen a reduction in crime and importantly local communities feel reassured and the fear of crime has reduced.

"We are pleased to be working in partnership with Community Watch, they are making a real difference."

Since it started, Community Watch has seen nearly 200 people respond to a local crime prevention survey, 11 neighbourhood watch groups and three street watch schemes have been set up with 20 people volunteering their time.

The street watch volunteers patrol the area and aim to improve community safety as well as doing clear-ups.

Marion Turner-Hawes, the street watch co-ordinator said: "I was concerned at the beginning about what patrolling might entail but once we got out and started speaking to people we soon got into our stride.

"We are not expected to do what the police do but rather to be visible, act as reassurance and report what we see.

"The response has been great. People often ask what we are doing and, once they hear, they are very supportive, some have even joined us, which is wonderful."

She added: "Some of the areas we patrol are strewn with litter, rubbish and mattresses galore, so we liaise with the council and Norse to get areas cleared, or we roll up our sleeves and have a go ourselves - we know they are very stretched so we chip in where we can."

The group has started a list of ‘grot spots’ and are working through clearing these with Norse.