Public focus on ‘watch’ groups

The vital role of the district’s Neighbourhood Watch network was highlighted at the latest meeting of the Banbridge Policing and Community Safety Partnership.

PCSP chairman, Councillor Junior McCr um, said the partnership was keen to recognise the vital contribution watch groups and their co-ordinators made to establishing safer communities and boosting local confidence in policing.

“For the PCSP,” he said, “NW Co-ordinators are a key community stakeholder group with whom we will be working in partnership to deliver both themed and geographic area-based projects set out in the action plan for 2014/15.”

PCSP member and Banbridge Council chairman, Councillor Olive Mercer, said: “NW Co-ordinators help our local communities to be represented more effectively and to ensure that the projects, events and activities that are delivered have local buy-in.”

The PSNI’s Sergeant Wendy Walker said Neighbourhood Watch provided a vital link between the community and police and empowered local residents to play their part in protecting themselves, their property and reducing the fear of crime in their area.

“Neighbourhood Watch is about bringing people closer together by developing a stronger community spirit,” she said.

“Anyone can belong to an NW scheme and play a part in its achievements.

“A scheme can cover just one street, cul de sac, park or road and requires a NW Co-ordinator who acts as a link between the community and local police; they are the first point of contact for all members of the scheme . . . anyone interested in becoming a co-ordinator or setting up a new scheme can contact me on 0845 600 8000.”

PCSP Vice-Chair Jonathan Murphy said the focus for the local Policing Plan for 2014/15 was also picked up in the PCSP action plan – in particular a more effective joined-up approach to addressing community concerns about illegal drugs, for which the PCSP had developed a local drug and alcohol strategy.

Councillor McCrum thanked guest speakers ACC Ashford of NI Fire and Rescue and Liz Young, PSNI Head of Corporate Communications as well as NIFRS and PSNI officers who took part in the meeting.